Can you work without counting the hours?

The frugalists want to retire at the age of 40, the slashers put their working time at the service of different employers, while others simply prefer to build a contract for a definite period of time rather than opt for a permanent contract. In short, the question of the time we spend on work is important. Far from trivial, this topic reveals the erosion of the long-held idea that working is tantamount to renting out your time in the service of someone.

Day packages or hourly packages

The end of the unit of time is not new. Already the debates around 35 o’clock questioned the unilateral mobilization of an employee’s skills for an employer. In that sense, the rise of freelancing clearly marked a turning point and made flexibility the big winner. The appearance of the day pass, in contrast to the hour pass, significantly undermines the unit of time. The flexibility offered by auto-entrepreneur status is more attractive, and according to the December 2021 Ifop barometer for, if 41% of executives have considered resigning, 30% of them say they are ready to to be self-employed in the future. Another fact from this study underlines once again the desire for hybridization: one in two managers thinks that the possibility to combine part-time freelance work and part-time work as an employee would be a good compromise.

41% of executives have considered quitting, 30% of them say they are ready to become self-employed in the future

Consultant on Monday, yoga teacher on Friday

the to cut that has inhabited the world of work since the 1970s is only increasing. This term refers to employees who have chosen to combine multiple occupations at once: “One Person, Multiple Careers”. According to INSEE, 2.3 million working people in France were slashers in 2018, and the acceleration of telecommuting due to the pandemic has convinced many others. Consultant Monday to Thursday and Yoga Teacher Friday: Wouldn’t this be the best way to earn a living hybrid? Often considered Swiss Army knives, slashers give themselves the opportunity to develop all their skills, as well as make themselves available to various employers. Simultaneously provider of freedom, the to cut also secures certain assets that find there the ability to have multiple strings on their bow. Jean-Marie Peretti, author of Learning at the service of performance To explain : “The latest studies show that the proportion of slashers is increasing in both the United States and Europe. For these people, having a stable job is not a motivating factor. It’s up to the company to let them cut internally, i.e. get involved in projects other than their own, and enrich them with external experiences.”


This change that is sweeping through the world of work does not only seem to encourage different and independent forms of employment, but also affects the salaried person as such. The health crisis has created difficulties for local management and has led to a redefinition of local management. Managers need to answer the question of distance and employees want to perform assessable missions in projects and not in hours. “That responsibility for projects to be carried out seems nonsense to me. I cannot calculate my time in hours, but rather in days, even weeks. A project matures outside working hours. Moreover, when I go to the office, it is not only to work but also to talk to my colleagues”Maylis, executive at a large public service institution, testified. The porosity of personal-professional life, so questioned since the start of the pandemic, is prompting management to rethink the paradigm for evaluating the performance of their employees.

A new time saver

Besides the need for more flexibility, another question arises: that of saving time. The emergence of a service economy has provided a strong incentive to rethink the economics of time at work, accelerated again by the pandemic. Witness to this is the reflection on working four days a week, which is becoming established in certain countries. According to the guard As of April 4, 2022, more than 3,000 employees from 60 different companies have switched to working four days a week in the UK. If the phenomenon has long seemed eccentric in France, the debate deserves attention. In 1996, the Robien Act had already allowed 400 companies to go from 39 hours to 32 hours in four days. Although the Aubry Acts of 1998 and 2000 reduced this measure, some employers find it attractive in a tight job market. Yprema, a recycling company, adheres to the four days since the Robienwet; The same goes for Welcome to the jungle, which took the plunge in 2019. The Lyon-based company LDCL also broke the codes very early by opting for the four-day week with 8 hours a day, or 32 hours from 2020 onwards. On the economic side: the four-day working week ensures more staff and a better employer brand for companies. On the human resources side, the debate is ongoing: doesn’t working four days instead of five run the risk of creating high productivity in a limited amount of time, disintegrating relationships between colleagues who exchange less? Saving time may not only be a matter of hours, but also of how we use it.

The world of work seems to be reinventing itself outside the sacred rules of classical theatre: unity of time, place and action. Behind the question of saving time, don’t we already see the invention of tomorrow’s professions that are much less focused on a single skill?

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