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End of the 9am to 5pm working day?

Have you ditched the 9-5 for flexible working and do traditional hours even exist anymore?

Didn't find your answer?

Dolly Parton might have to consider changing the lyrics to her song after a YouGov survey found that only 6% of people in the UK now work 9am to 5pm, BBC News has reported this week.

According to the survey, the traditional working hours have been replaced in popularity by flexible working hours.  

Most of the workers surveyed prefer starting work at 8am and finishing at 4pm (which are hours I’ve recently adopted in an attempt to beat the wading through jam-like Bristol traffic). The second popular choice is 7am to 3pm.

It seems that flexible hours are just as popular with accountants. Quite often, in our regular Small Change feature, accountants in practice talk about bringing in flexible working to help with their staff’s work-life balance and to ensure someone is on hand for their clients at all sorts of hours.

But there is another issue: does a standard working day even exist anymore? Can you clock off at, say, 5pm? The line between work and life has blurred.

So what say you? Is your office hours still the standard 9am to 5pm? Or have you taken on a more flexible working arrangement? If so, have you found it better for your personal life or dealing with your clients?

Replies (46)

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By Duggimon
23rd Aug 2018 09:06

I think the poll is heavily skewed by the huge numbers of people who don't work for eight hours a day, or who work for large companies where eight hours a day does not include a paid break and so they are at work for longer. For people at those companies to work nine til five the business would be paying them for seven hours and forty minutes a day with their legally mandated twenty minutes lunch break, clearly nobody operates on a seven hour forty minute shift pattern though.

I wouldn't have expected anything more than ten percent to actually work nine til five, even without considering flexi-time arrangements and the like.

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Replying to Duggimon:
By SteveHa
23rd Aug 2018 09:07

HMRC standard working day is 07:24 (though they do work flexi-time).

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By SteveHa
23rd Aug 2018 09:06

I've recently switched to around 07:45 - around 15:45, but it isn't out of choice, or for work/life balance.

It's because I commute via train, and with the mess that is Northern Rail, I can't trust later trains to get me here on time.

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By Manchester_man
23rd Aug 2018 09:19

Well I'm not sure about in the city centre, but certainly in my local area, the norm is 9-5.

I've never been a 9-5 type of person, which is probably why self employment works for me. Most days I find myself working 12-6 then a couple of hours after 8pm. Although for two out of 5 days I work 11/12-4pm. I'm not a morning person :-) (except for today as I've got to go to see a client at 10am).

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panda ketteringUK
By ketteringUK
23rd Aug 2018 09:27

My working hours are 8am - 11pm with approximately 1 hour break for commuting, 1 hour lunch , 30 mins to eat dinner.

Still trying to find a right balance between working f/t and running an own practice. Not enough clients yet to go full time.

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Replying to ketteringUK:
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By wase3m
23rd Aug 2018 10:45

.

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By neiltonks
23rd Aug 2018 09:29

I work 9:00 - 5:30, but that's by choice as those hours suit me. My employer allows a number of different work patterns, so I have colleagues who work 8:00 - 4:30, 8:30 - 5:00 and so on, along with some who work fewer hours with various start end end times. It's a bit of a mix and match, but it generally works well.

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By slipknot08
23rd Aug 2018 09:36

I normally do 7am to 5pm (occasionally I remember to take a lunch break too!), but I think the 'official' hours are 8.30-5. :-)

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Slim
By Slim
23rd Aug 2018 09:44

Never worked 9-5, when I was "employed" I worked mostly either 8.30-5 or 9-5.30, we had flexi time but always 37.5hrs a week.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Aug 2018 10:02

If the weather's bad, I work longer hours than when the weather's good.

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Quack
By Constantly Confused
23rd Aug 2018 10:45

This is my first job where there is zero scope for flexible hours (and I mean zero). Other places have varied, but usually there was the 8:00 - 16:15 or 10:00 - 18:15 option.

While I'm here, where did this extra 15 minutes come from? I've often wondered. It seems so odd to work 7 and a quarter hours, why the quarter?

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2018 10:56

Given everyone else getting earlier and earlier there is logic in being contrarian and starting later and later, so I tend to arrive circa 9.15 (very little sitting in Edinburgh traffic but I live pretty close to the office-I could easily walk-in fact I ought to walk)

I leave for lunch at circa 1.00, return at 2.15 (sit in car listening to Archers then come in) but I tend not to leave in evening until 6.00/6.30/7.00 and of course these days I only do this Mon-Wed, I am now part time.

There is an ulterior motive getting home later, he/she first in tends to cook, if I leave it late enough I get out of most of the cooking. I think my returned son has worked out the same thing (of course never discussed) as I have noticed he is now returning later and later. Daughter avoids cooking chores by just not cooking-ever- we still cannot work out how she survived all the years away at university without starving.

The key is ensuring my other half does not start to suspect that we are gaming the system.

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Replying to DJKL:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
23rd Aug 2018 12:02

Yes, you ought to walk! Less pollution and more exercise. Go on, give it a go!

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Replying to Red Leader:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2018 13:00

Yes, I was thinking about my waist and am in a temporary good spell re cigar smoking, my local emporium has run out of decent cigars that I can afford so I have gone cold turkey.

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Replying to Red Leader:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Aug 2018 16:44

Red Leader wrote:

Yes, you ought to walk! Less pollution and more exercise. Go on, give it a go!

I walk. The snag is, it's only five yards.

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Aug 2018 16:59

DJKL wrote:
.... if I leave it late enough I get out of most of the cooking.

I like cooking. I made a black pudding once. It was meant to be an apple crumble but I left it in the oven too long.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
23rd Aug 2018 12:03

What about the "working week"? Is it Mon-Fri? In my case, it is. I avoid working at the weekend as otherwise I don't feel positively included towards work come Monday morning.

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counting
By Counting numbers
23rd Aug 2018 12:07

Years ago I also worked in retail which was a typical 50 hour week and 60 hour week during busy periods like Xmas.

In recent years I typically worked 8.30 - 8pm. My previous employer’s expectation was that everyone does it so you have to. I found myself procrastinating and not being productive at all as I resented being made work late just for the sake of it. It was highly demotiving to ‘have’ to work late just because I was a manager and that’s what the company culture was. My policy is if you can’t do your job 9am - 5pm then you’re doing something wrong or your employer is asking too much of you. Certainly in the recession a lot of employers were asking too much from their employees. But I was one of the lucky ones who had a job!!

Thankfully I now enjoy 9 - 5.30pm. I have flexi time if I need to go to the doctors or leave early so I don’t eat into my annual leave.

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Replying to Counting numbers:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2018 14:04

" if you can’t do your job 9am - 5pm then you’re doing something wrong"

I read something similar re Sweden, whilst working extra hours there is sometimes done if someone is doing it all the time it will be frowned upon, something will be considered amiss.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
23rd Aug 2018 17:39

I still pretty much work 9 to 5 ish, I sometimes stay back a spell to finish something off but rarely beyond 6.00pm

with the recent hot weather I have been starting at 7.00am to offset the lack of productivity during the days when my glass fronted office gets too hot to be very productive.

I will do some extra time on a night catching up with emails or admin.

I always try and keep my weekends free and do not work as go to Northumberland every weekend so keep it clear for family time, so don't mind a few extra hours during the week to compensate.

The only weekend work I ever do is if busy in Dec/Jan if busy with tax returns, although that is something else I am trying to avoid as aim to have 90% of them done by end of October.

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
24th Aug 2018 15:19

How interesting all your answers are. They all appear to be from those members who are employed and working for other firms on flexi basis (except poss Glenn)?.
My length of day depends on the date of the month. 7th, 19th, 31 Jan for example. Its not unusual for me to still be at my computer submitting a CIS return on 19th at 8pm (despite nagging constantly they ignore me thinking I can do miracles which, of course, I do). My record is 11pm on 31 Jan 2016.
When I have an article to submit the next day its also not unusual for it to be about 9pm. I dont have a lunch break as I'm usually so busy that when I look at the clock the time for such things is past and its 3pm.
But then I took yesterday off to go shopping (and meet a client in a pub) and once I month on the last Weds of each month I enjoy attending a networking meeting which is from 9pm to noon which I wouldnt be able to if working for someone else.

edit: OK ... you know I meant 9AM to noon for the networking!!

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
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By Rammstein1
23rd Aug 2018 14:53

I enjoy attending a networking meeting which is from 9pm to noon which I wouldnt be able to if working for someone else.

[/quote]

An all night networking event! Do you throw your car keys in a bowl?

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
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By Sue Murby
23rd Aug 2018 17:35

Despite nagging each year I always have several returns to do in January and regularly file around 11.00pm. Although this year I filed the last return at around 9.30pm. Back in the 90s I used to turn up at the Revenue's offices first thing in the morning of 1st February with envelopes full of tax returns.
It was much better in the days before penalties for late filing if there was no tax to pay because I could leave some returns until February if I knew there were losses.

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My photo
By Matrix
23rd Aug 2018 18:06

Now that I work for myself and am not paid for trolling the internet, I tend to do 4 hours of full on heads down work most mornings. Maybe a bit of research or AWeb in the evening.

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Logo
By marks
23rd Aug 2018 20:14

My staff have core hours between 10am and 4pm when they need to be in the office. Can however start at anytime between 8am and 10am and finish as appropriate between 4pm and 6pm (with a 1 hour lunch).

They do 35 hours per week.

Personally, I am usually in anytime between 9am and 10am and usually finish between 6pm and 7pm.

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Mark Telford Chartered Accountant
By Mark Telford
24th Aug 2018 11:01

Have never worked 'just' 9-5 since I started working for myself.

During school term time working day looks something like:

9.30am - 3pm with a lunch break
8pm - 11pm

Take kids to school, go for a swim, work, pick kids up, have dinner with them and then back to work.

Work weekends? Yes, if its needed. I usually do something at some point, usually either Saturday/Sunday morning or Sunday evening.

There's no distinction between work and life when you work for yourself - its just life - you organise it how you want to - just do what works for you.

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Replying to Mark Telford:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
24th Aug 2018 12:22

How many lengths?

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Replying to Red Leader:
Mark Telford Chartered Accountant
By Mark Telford
24th Aug 2018 20:25

It varies depending on how long I have, how busy it is and whether I went for a run the night before.

Usually 30-40.

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Replying to Mark Telford:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
28th Aug 2018 18:47

Yes, assuming a 25m pool, 40 lengths is 1k which I normally do these days. Not sure it's worth swimming longer.

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Tornado
By Tornado
23rd Aug 2018 22:51

Usually 9.15 am to 6.30 pm, mainly to ensure that the drive to and from work is no more than 30 mins each way.

Extra hours, at busy times and fewer hours during the summer when clients are away.

There is a clear difference between employment and self-employment in that self-employment allows you to earn more or less as you wish but there are quite a few unpaid hours dealing with administration to take into account.

There are also the clients to see who are only available outside of normal hours or are a significant distance away.

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Northumberland flag
By MJShone
24th Aug 2018 08:49

Typically 7.45amish to 5.30ish without a lunch break. I have things I try to go to 3 nights a week to make me leave the office, but they sometimes fall by the wayside.
Weekends - only when really necessary.

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Quack
By Constantly Confused
24th Aug 2018 09:40

If nothing else this thread is making me even less likely to set up my own business, it's annoying that the harder I work the richer my bosses get, but at least I don't feel compelled to do 12 hour days as a norm (any more) :)

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Replying to Constantly Confused:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
24th Aug 2018 10:59

There is no compelled re hours as self employed, it really depends how much you want / are driven to do and how much you need to earn.

For me a P/T practice works quite well, it was not perfect whilst I was in full time employment as the day job was as many hours as it needed to be and the practice needed to fit around these work demands, but it is certainly not too bad slotting it in when you have Thurs-Sunday to do the client work. It is certainly easier than coming home from the day job, meal, then 7.30 p.m.-12.00 p.m. working upstairs; it is now not a bad lifestyle balance.

Having said all the above, today is Friday, one of the days I do not work for my employer, yet here I am sitting in my office at work , posting on here,waiting for a property sale which we started last year finally going over the line this morning.

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Aug 2018 11:06

DJKL wrote:
then 7.30 p.m.-12.00 p.m. working upstairs; it is now not a bad lifestyle balance.

12 pm = midnight ?

Thanks for that.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
24th Aug 2018 11:27

I have always been a bit confused when pm stops and am starts.

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Replying to DJKL:
By SteveHa
24th Aug 2018 12:10

There is no hard and fast rule. To avoid ambiguity, midnight is often referred to as either 00:00 or 24:00.

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Aug 2018 12:15

DJKL wrote:

I have always been a bit confused when pm stops and am starts.

12 pm comes after 11 pm. It's not rocket science.

If somebody tells me the deadline is midnight on Friday, I expect to be able to do it on Friday. So midnight comes at the end of the day. It's not in the morning.

All this was generally accepted until lazy computer programmers couldn't be bothered to deal with the change from 12 pm to 12.01 am some time around 1978.

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By nekillim
24th Aug 2018 11:23

Hi,

67 years old working for my own distribution business. In work by 06:30, leave around 16:30. Holidays, if I am lucky! Sickness, only if nearly dead. Thanks online sellers!!

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By reconynge
24th Aug 2018 11:42

Fascinating!

As I have my own practice, there are two golden rules. Never work Sundays with at least two Saturdays off per month: being with family and recharging your batteries are important. Secondly, my working days are geared towards my clients who mostly work flat out in their own businesses... 9 to 5 (at least). Within reason, I schedule meetings to suit them and flex my working hours around them. The first challenges them not to work all hours to death; the second gives them respect and the wow factor of my practice

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By SXGuy
24th Aug 2018 20:01

Off peak I work 8am till 3pm 4 days a week. Peak time 2 of those days I work till 7pm to accommodate clients who can't see me before 5.

Never worked 9 to 5.

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
25th Aug 2018 08:35

When I was at a Big 8 firm (remember them) in London, the office working hours were 9:30 to 5:30. It was a pain having to get to clients for 9:00!

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Aug 2018 18:51

Formally, we’re 9-5, 9-4 on Fridays. I tend to get in 8.15 ish and leave at 5.30, except Fridays which are a sacrament 4. Or days when the baby is being a nightmare at home and I need to get home early.
I have a Mum PT qual who works 8.30-4.30 2 days.
My semi-senior is normally in 8.15-8.30. Trainees work 9.05-4.55 if I’m lucky.

I used to work 5-7 weekend days pcm, but now we’ve had a baby I TRY to do less, at the most 1 every other month is the target.

I like the idea of flexi with core hours, but we’re too small to cope with the shortages at either end of the day

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By Briar
27th Aug 2018 16:00

0900 until 1900 with lunch break of an hour to walk the dog and eat. (yes, agree with DKL, other half cooks dinner!) Then 22.30 until 23.45 to clear up. And... I am working today - its wonderful phone hasn't rung (can't get out of the drive anyway due to traffic going to the races 3 miles away)

But then, I do take a day off when I feel like it.

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Replying to Briar:
RLI
By lionofludesch
27th Aug 2018 16:24

I'd much rather work on Bank Holidays and have a day off later when it's quieter.

Good Friday and Easter Monday excepted, obviously.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Briar
28th Aug 2018 16:47

I agree. What's special about Good Friday and Easter Monday (unless you are a Christian)? I was brought up in Yorkshire and we worked Good Friday and had a day called Easter Tuesday off instead.

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Replying to Briar:
RLI
By lionofludesch
28th Aug 2018 17:36

We have matches on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

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