If there is one thing that we've learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that workers have not stopped working.
This phenomenon is particularly prevalent among shift workers, who traditionally arrived and left the workplace at their designated shift start and end times, or thereabouts.
Working from home has altered this routine, causing rigid work shifts and schedules to blur or, in some cases, even dissolve altogether.
Why should businesses necessarily mind? More work means greater productivity, right?
Perhaps, but in the case of exempt employees, working around the clock may result in burnout, which in turn will often result in a drag on productivity.
In addition, in the case of nonexempt workers, increased work time means higher payroll, which can be a problem for cost-sensitive businesses that are not able to afford increased payroll costs.
Far from being the only challenge for businesses during the pandemic, this paradigm shift in the work day is certainly a stand-out issue.
You may be saying to yourself that this is now, or at least soon to be, a nonissue. Employees are steadily returning to the workplace, and by the fall, working from home will be a distant memory for most.
Problem solved, right?
Not necessarily for all.
Many businesses seem to be considering hybrid work setups in response to employees' demands for an option to work from home. In even more radical cases, they may be contemplating a completely remote model.
Whether it is to shrink office space to reduce or eliminate rent, or to provide employees greater flexibility with respect to their work schedules, the hybrid model can be an attractive disrupter.
Whether a permanent or hybrid work-from-home model will prove successful will depend upon myriad factors, and will be largely a business decision. There are, however, legal considerations that come into play, including potential wage and hour issues.