Employees wave goodbye to 9 to 5 but still want more flexibility

Flexible working key to attracting and retaining talent, new survey shows

Employees may moan about having to work a 9 to 5 shift all the time but the reality is only a handful of them actually do, a new study has found.

The survey of 1,000 Irish employees reveals that just 5 per cent of the workforce currently work a traditional 9 to 5. It also shows that while working patterns may be changing, staff want more flexibility.

The study, conducted by YouGov on behalf of McDonald’s Ireland, shows that almost half of those surveyed would prefer to start their working day before 9am and finish before 5pm.

An 8 to 4 shift is the preferred option for 31 per cent of respondents with a further 17 per cent in favour of a 7 to 3 working day. If given the option, 32 per cent of Irish employes would accept a longer work day for a shorter week.


Only 45 per cent of workers said they currently work the hours that best suit them.

More positive

Of employees who are offered flexible working hours, 82 per cent said it made them feel more positive about their job while 79 per cent said it was a reason to stay with their current employer for longer.

"This research reflects our belief that to attract, retain and motivate, employers need to create opportunities that genuinely work for people whatever their age, life stage, or ambition," said Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald's.

“The business case is clear, as are the links to improved happiness and wellbeing – people simply don’t want to work 9 to 5 anymore. They want to work more flexibly, but that doesn’t diminish ambition, desire or opportunity to progress,” he added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist