The Death Of The 9 To 5 Work Day (And Why Offline Is The New Luxury)

Photo credit: Mikayla Mallek

Working from 9 to 5 (or 8am if you’re unlucky) is a thing of the past: now working people are online all day – and most of the night too it seems …

Send an email at night (or early morning) and it’ll probably be answered.

I often lie in bed until I have to get up and get the family ready for work and school (I’m lucky enough to work from home so can stay in my gym clothes – or more often nightie – and I take the time to check my emails from my phone, to see if there’s anything urgent I need to do, and to generally plan my day.

I might reply to an email or send one at 6am – and these days I often get a reply immediately.

Some of the emails in my inbox were sent long after office hours – often at 9 or 10pm. And I can identify the insomniacs from the emails sent at 2.55am.

On Sunday evenings, if I’m not keen on the movie the rest of the family is watching, I take the time to clear the spam from my inbox – and might reply to one or two emails too. Surprise, surprise – I get responses from the mails I’ve sent then too.

This means that people are checking their emails from the minute they open their eyes to last thing at night – and go online when they can’t sleep too. I’m guilty too (you have to send to receive) and it’s all since I added Gmail to my phone.

Offline is the new luxury – and it’s FREE!

So when do we take some (literal) downtime then? It used to be that busy working people took a complete break from the office when they went on holiday – to isolated places like Indian Ocean islands or the bush.

But now game lodges offer wi-fi codes with your room key and even speedboats are equipped with wi-fi en route to idyllic island paradise resorts off the coast of Mozambique. I kid you not.

I had the chance to review the magnificent Anantara Bazaruro resort last year and a speedboat took guests on the approximately 10km transfer from Vilancoulos to Bazaruto. The driver gave all passengers on his boat a towel, bottle of water – and the wi-fi code for the speedboat transfer!

So when are we sleeping? When are we really unplugged? (And when are we having sex?)

I recently read about a survey taken by the Brits – and 29% of couples said they prefer to spend their last waking hour in bed online – rather than having sex! (I assume these are couples who’ve been married for years: pretty sad if it’s a new lover …)

We have our friends’ home wi-fi codes saved in our phones, we answer calls at restaurants – and a spa therapist told me about a woman who took a call during a full body aromatherapy massage!

Teenagers (and some adults too) now hook up – and break up – online, and ‘talk’ to their friends without saying a word. Nights out with friends don’t happen unless there are group selfies to prove it, and concerts are often videoed without just being in the moment – soaking up the vibes and music.

Someone once told me about a clever game she plays with friends when out for lunch or dinner: everyone puts their phones in a pile in the middle of the table, and the first person to check his or her message, pays the bill: brilliant!

It’s amazing that technology has enabled us to work from home, connect with clients across time zones, stay in touch with friends – and even meet deadlines from exotic islands – but it’s also time to know when to unplug … before we end up in online addiction rehab … with no internet for 28 days!

Read next: Balance Is Not A Bicycle

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Sasha Wyatt-Minter
Sasha Wyatt-Minter is an online magazine editor and offline mom of a teenager, who finds the pressure of deadlines much easier than navigating the waters of parenting a teen (and needs lots of wine to help her wade through it all). The beach and reading are what calms her soul - preferably at the same time.
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