How Automation May Reshape the Traditional 9-to-5 Culture

Has the time finally arrived for modern workplaces to shed the obsession with the 9 to 5 grind?

For decades and across many sectors of the economy, the same cycle has played day in and day out. Workers arrive in the morning, take an hour-long break somewhere in the day, punch out in the early evening and arrive again the next day to do it all over again. Meetings could last for hours, and multiple meetings a week meant lots of time away from your desk. Though these meetings produce little value, management has consistently pointed to reasoning founded on the value of teamwork and collaboration.

Major economic shifts in the wake of global crises have revealed the cracks in this model. As the scale of remote work has increased, more workers have pressed management for more flexible hours and opportunities to engage in asynchronous work. Teams no longer need to spend every waking moment of the workday in close contact. A growing number of people have begun to think that traditional employment is no longer their best option for stability.

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Despite these changes, management trends can remain stubbornly backward. Instead of adapting, the 9 to 5 culture of endless meetings and constant milestones has been ported into the digital realm. This approach could actively hold businesses back from recognizing remote work’s real promise in a 24-hour global economy.

So how do you unlock that promise? What do businesses need to recognize about the “workplace” of today? 

Meetings Hold Your Business Back From Real Progress

The problem isn’t that meetings have no value—they clearly have an important role in business. However, the many hours employees spend in meetings daily have skyrocketed over time. This isn’t a tenable situation in the office itself. In a remote or hybrid office setup, it is downright unsustainable. Consider that one of the key benefits of remote work is flexibility for the individual—flexibility that vanishes if they must constantly stop work to rush into a Zoom meeting.

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Therein lies the problem: time spent in meetings is not time spent working. Excessive meetings do more to sap creativity than inspire it, and it can cause a mental drain on employees that leave them less motivated. When managers call meetings simply as a means of polling workers for status updates on their daily tasks or longer-term projects, they aren’t helping the business—they’re holding it back.

The Need to Develop a Sharper Competitive Edge

Trying to force the meeting model onto remote work is one problem and the most apparent to the average remote employee today. However, businesses must notice another problem underlying inefficiencies in the digital age. In a rapidly moving global economy, today’s teams spend too much time on menial and administrative tasks. These tasks are essential, to be sure, but responsibility for them often falls to people whose talent and creativity are much more valuable to the organization than their 10-key entry speed.

There is clearly a gap between the reality faced by today’s digital workforce and the continued adherence to the 9 to 5 model. Rather than adapting an old method, it is time to embrace the future of work—a future that necessarily includes automation as the bridge between old and new.

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How Automation Fills the Gap

Today’s process automation tools, including robotic process automation, open the door to robust and highly customizable workflows that require less human intervention. RPA or robotic process automation can replace tedious administrative workflows, connect remote teams, and give your business an advantage through better work methods.

RPA can do much to help companies break away from the tedium of the 9 to 5. Not only that, but it can also play an important role in reducing the number of unnecessary meetings teams experience. How?

Imagine an automated reporting system that helps managers keep track of employee progress without the need to call a meeting. Teams continue to collaborate as they need, but group meetings revert to a big-picture focus—strategy, direction, and quality assurance. RPA can help restore value to meetings by eliminating the need for constant check-ins and status updates.

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Simultaneously, RPA can augment or fully take over many administrative and back-end tasks. Why keep valuable knowledge workers on data entry duty when they could instead contribute their creative thinking to projects in a more hands-on way? Robotic processes keep important workflows going 24 hours a day, seven days a week—they don’t clock out at 5. 

Is Your Business Ready for the Next Evolution in the Way We Work?

Today, many professionals see a pressing need for considerable restructuring of the daily workflow. The old way of doing things doesn’t fit the new model, where remote and asynchronous work are on the rise. Supporting employees around the clock, reducing wasted time, and streamlining manual administrative tasks might sound like a significant undertaking, but the right tools make all the difference. Through an intelligent approach to automation, supporting today’s workforce and expanding its capabilities is not just possible—it’s already happening.

Director, Product Marketing at

Dan Johnson is Director, Product Marketing – Intelligent Automation at Kofax. He delivers global product positioning, sales & partner enablement, and go-to-market strategy for Kofax’s Intelligent Automation Platform, transforming information-intensive business operations start to finish. Prior to Kofax, Dan held similar roles at Alcatel-Lucent, Nitel, Nokia and Revenera. Dan holds a master of business administration, marketing degree from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University, and a bachelor of science, marketing & economics from Elmhurst University.

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