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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic killed the 9-to-5 workday for many.

The big picture: So much of our society — from after-school child care programs to the most coveted time slots for television shows — is structured around working from 9 to 5. But our countrywide experiment in remote work has demonstrated that the hours we are logged on don't matter as long as the work gets done.

Why it matters: Dismantling the 9-to-5 workday adds a great deal of flexibility that could benefit working parents, caretakers, part-time students and more.

  • "It becomes increasingly clear in a remote setting, especially with colleagues traveling or relocating to varying time zones, that trying to retain a rigid work schedule makes little sense for many jobs," says Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab, the world's largest all-remote company.
  • "One of the key perks of remote work done well is flexibility. This includes flexibility of schedule."

And it's not just white-collar office jobs that are becoming more untethered.

  • With the rise of gig work, millions of Americans are making money based on how many rides they complete or groceries they deliver instead of how many hours they work.
  • Yes, but: That model adds to the precariousness of the gig economy and is a big driver behind the movement to give gig workers full-employee status.

The upside: Setting hours independently gives workers the ability to tailor each workday to their specific preferences, Murph says. Companies that embrace work-whenever should also learn to communicate with emails and documents rather than scheduled meetings to allow employees to truly plan their own days, he says.

  • Parents can take a break in the middle of the day to play with their kids and then catch up on work after dinner.
  • Trips to the gym can be scheduled for the afternoon, between meetings, instead of at the crack of dawn.
  • If you're more productive in the mornings, you can begin the day before your colleagues. And the same goes for night owls.

The downside: Despite its perks, work-whenever — which means there is no clear time to log on or log off — has the potential to fray work-life balance.

But, but, but: Most companies are still used to the 9-to-5 workday and communicating through meetings, which require employees to be logged on at roughly the same hours.

  • Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom has been surveying remote workers throughout the pandemic, and the majority say their pandemic hours and pre-pandemic hours still have about 80% overlap.
  • So there's a chance work-whenever is "mostly a short-run pandemic phenomenon," Bloom says.

The bottom line: Whether it's allowing employees to telecommute or letting them set their own hours, companies will ultimately decide how much workplace flexibility they'll bring into the post-pandemic world.

  • And employees will likely make decisions on where they want to work based on those company polices.

Go deeper: Work-from-home is turning into work-from-anywhere

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump dogs "dull" DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a "dull personality" and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who've recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.

Why it matters: The two are among the most popular Republicans in the country, and as the former president eyes another run in 2024, he's irked by DeSantis' popularity and refusal to rule out running against him.