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Author Topic: working hours/ schedules in general  (Read 15557 times)

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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2012, 03:50:12 PM »
In my working life in standard office jobs (in London), the usual hours were 9:00 to about 5:30.

But when I worked in the City, ie investment banking/financial services, the hours were more like 7:30 am to 6:30 pm.



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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2012, 05:01:16 PM »
I've worked with international companies for 20 plus years.  I've always noticed that US companies start earlier but the further East Coast you get, the more likely a 9am start is going to be.  My theory is it started because of our multiple timezones and our flexible work schedules.

I'm only going to address a standard corporate environment, not shift work.
On the East Coast, a 9 to 5 job was standard and had a one hour paid lunch.  As more companies opened branch offices in the mid-west, those offices would start at 8am to be on a similar time schedule as their East Coast headquarters. 

Then the idea of a paid lunch hour soon started going by the wayside so to get off at 5pm, you had to start at 8am.  Then the concept of extended days with alernate Friday's off or half Friday's became extremely popular in the 1990's which meant to get in 9 hours, you started at 7 and worked till 4:30 or 5 depending on how long your unpaid lunch hour was. 

For the last 18 years, I've started my work day anywhere from around 7am to 8am.  I've never had a 9 to 5 job.  Other than law firms or financial, I really don't know of other industries where 9 to 5 is a normal schedule in the US. 

When I travel to other offices, even our east coast locations, if I arrive a 7am, I'm turning on the lights.  When I worked in Perth Australia, they thought I was crazy for coming in at 7am. But they were also ready to shoot me if  suggested a "company paid working lunch" or expected someone to take a conference call with another country at 5pm. 

But like I said, my theory is the timezones and that most companies originally started out headquartered on the east coast.


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2012, 05:28:28 PM »
U.S. here in an office where people start all hours of the day and night. I usually work 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., today I'm 9-5:30. I worked 4 p.m-midnight or 5:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. for most of my time here.

Our final meeting of the day attended by higher-ups (all salaried; I'm paid hourly) starts at 5 and they usually leave after that plus wrapping up any business they have left for the day.

Most professional offices I know keep hours that include some or all of the time between 8 and 6. Most shops seem to be open a few hours after that (and might open starting at 9 or 10).


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2012, 07:16:45 PM »
US here.   

I have worked jobs with some crazy schedules. 

1st real job shifts for fulltime and salaried employees were 4am-1pm, 5am-2pm, 6am-3pm, 8am-5pm, 12pm-8pm, 3pm-11pm, 4pm-midnight, 11pm-7am.  Business was open from 7am-11pm, your hours depended on what position you where working.

Tourist job, hours were from 6am until people stopped buying stuff.  It sounds crappy, but I made excellent money and met a lot of really great people.

Current job.  The hours are flexible depending on what you do.  I think the earliest is 7am and the lastest may be 5:30 or 6pm.  Most people show up at 8am and leave before 5pm.  There is a schedule, but honestly, company is very accommodating.  There are 2 paid breaks and a non-paid 1hour lunch.

As far as school goes, it's schedule/school year is really to accommodate the for the heat here.  I am in Florida and school runs from the mid/last week of August to maybe the last week of May or first week of June.  Highschool starts at 7:30 and ends around 2:45, I am not sure about the others. 

I know when I was in middle school it didn't end until 4:30.  I think it was changed because too many kids were getting sick (heat exhaustion/heat stroke) in PE when they had it the last 2 periods of the day. You can't expect anyone to run track at 4pm in 100F/90% humidity, with no easily assessable water and not pass out.
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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2012, 07:20:54 PM »
Australia here.

I work 9 - 4.30, but most common for office jobs is 9-5, with half hour break, or 8.30-5 with hour break.


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2012, 09:45:36 AM »
In office and library jobs, I've always had a 9 to 5 working schedule with an hour for lunch. 

In the library, you could come in earlier and leave earlier.  The only stipulation was that you had to be there while the library was open and make your hours. This would have been from 9 to 4:30. 


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2012, 02:09:34 AM »
I work in a hospital in CA.  In my department on the inpatient side, shifts are 8-, 10- or 12-hrs (12 hours on weekends and holidays) and will start as early as 6am.  Inpatient areas are around-the-clock care so I know the nurses will often work 12-hr shifts.  I work in administration so shift hours are typically 8am-4:30pm or 8:30am-5pm (office hours are 8am-5pm).  I attend a meeting three days a week at 7:15am so I was allowed to change my hours to 7am-3:30pm (I started out with those hours then my evil former supervisor arbitrarily changed them to 8am-4:30pm when evil coworker complained that I shouldn't get those hours; shortly after I was transferred to normal human being supervisor, I volunteered to start doing the minutes for those morning meetings specifically because I knew it would result in getting my hours changed back to the earlier time).  It sucks sometimes having to be up so early, but I love being off by 3:30pm (fringe benefit is I know it rankles evil coworker, but there's nothing she can do about it now, ha ha ha).  I am able to get so much done after work as a result of being off by 3:30pm and not have the whole rest of my afternoon/evening gone by the time I am done.  I also get a lot of peace and quiet that first hour because most of the other employees in administration don't come in until about 8-8:30am.

Other places I've worked have usually had shifts start at 8am.  I don't think for a day shift, I've ever had to work past 5pm (when I worked a swing shift, my hours were 3-11:30pm).  One place where I worked (phone company) had really odd, around-the-clock shifts that included split shifts (12-hours shifts where you worked a few hours in the morning then were off a few hours and worked a few hours at night so having eight hours worked and being off four hours in a 12-hour time span).


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2012, 11:53:28 PM »
American here :waves:

Do other countries have as many businesses open 24/7 as we do in America? More? Less? In most areas I've lived in, you can find a fast food place, diner type place, gas station, and a Wal-Mart/grocery store type place that are open all hours of the day.

As a dedicated shift worker, I make it a point to learn these things (there is a rumor in the squadron that I'm half vampire >:D )
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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2012, 12:10:36 AM »
American here :waves:

Do other countries have as many businesses open 24/7 as we do in America? More? Less? In most areas I've lived in, you can find a fast food place, diner type place, gas station, and a Wal-Mart/grocery store type place that are open all hours of the day.

As a dedicated shift worker, I make it a point to learn these things (there is a rumor in the squadron that I'm half vampire >:D )

Australian :waves back:

I'd say overall, they're less common.

You can find fairly easily a 24 hr gas/petrol station, and fast food. And a convenience store (7/11 type) or chemist/drug store if you're lucky. In the nightlife areas these will be more common.

In my experience, I've never seen a Walmart type store open 24/7.


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2012, 12:12:41 AM »
In Finland there's been a slow change to 24/7 places in recent years, though so far in my town it's only a few gas stations and a McDonald's. But smaller grocery stores are staying open later and later. It used to be that they closed at 9 pm, now it's not uncommon to have them open until 10 or even 11. And a few years ago stores were allowed to be open on Sundays all year round, before it was only during summer and before Christmas.

At my current job I start at 8.30 and I think that it's a bit late, many people start at 8. I work at a very small company and have some flexibility with my hours but the nature of the work requires that I'm there quite early because we often have deadlines at noon so mornings are our busiest times. I have about half an hour for luch but nobody monitors it, it's as long as it takes me to eat. When I take my lunch depends on our clients, though the deadlines are at noon often I won't get approval from them until 1 so I won't be able to eat before that. I could also take breaks at other times but usually don't. I stop working at 4.30, one of the best things about my work is that working overtime is very rare, though I'll do it if I need to (and then get to take the time off).


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Re: working hours/ schedules in general
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2012, 12:59:26 AM »
Fascinating thread! US here. "9 to 5" is, as PP have said, cultural shorthand for working a fulltime "normal hours" job here, but obviously things like shops, restaurants, and movie theaters (not to mention 24-hour places) have to be open different hours, or longer hours, or they wouldn't get any business (as all their potential customers would still be at work). I remember when I was younger there was a lot of rushing around after my parents got off work, to get shopping done by 6pm, as stores would often close then--but now it seems like places are open until 8pm or 9pm most days of the week. Again, just a couple decades ago, it seemed like the outside world was dead before 10am, and driving around town on a school day morning was akin to witnessing the aftermath of some apocalypse. But now many things open at 9am or even earlier.

I think in general people have a much wider variety of hours and schedules now, meaning that businesses have to be open longer hours to "catch" them. I also think that now people often have very long commutes--there are "bedroom communities" where people have their houses, but every day some huge percentage of the residents commute to nearby large cities to work and even shop. ( has info about the percentage of commuters in different cities now.) Finding that your new job has a commute of less than an hour (like ONLY 45min) is often worthy of celebration--and longer than an hour is okay, too, if it's public transportation so you can "get stuff done" while riding to work. And then some people have to get up at special times in order to catch the bus, because some routes only hit certain places every 30min or something like that.

I don't know if this is true in other countries, but my understanding is that the school schedule in the US is historically very dependent on the agricultural industry, which was/is huge across large swaths of the country. It's the reason children in the US did not historically go to school in the summer, because that's the busiest time on a farm and children were needed to help out there. Farmers and other outside laborers often start the day as soon as it's light out, so that could account for the early start school seems to have sometimes; and school ending in early to mid afternoon, when there's still a few hours of light, would allow the kids time to help with afterschool chores on the farm. Historically, I believe kids went to school fewer hours during the winter, so they weren't heading off/coming home in the dark; this came in once the school days were standardized across seasons. And in places that had especially harsh winters, there would often be a "winter break" of a month or more in the dead of winter (kind of like a lot of colleges have now between fall and spring semesters) because of the difficult logistics of schooling then--transporting kids in the dark and in bad weather, heating and lighting the schoolhouses, etc..

My point is, I believe the farming schedule drove a lot of the school schedule in the US, and the school schedule drove a lot of other schedules, especially as the parents moved away from farming (where to an extent you set your own hours) and into jobs that required more standardized hours. I also like the idea of businesses trying to overlap with the "head office" on the East Coast--that makes sense to me, too.

camlan was right about the school buses, too. Especially in rural areas, where several small towns feed kids into one school in one town, kids can be on a bus for an hour or more. The big yellow school bus, FYI, is not like a city bus, which will circle the same route all day--if you miss the school bus's single pass by your house/stop, that means Mom or Dad has to take time from their day to drive you directly to school, and they are not happy about that! (Er, IME...) In larger cities, though, I think the city bus routes are often set up to drop students (at least teenagers on up) at their schools, so they probably could catch the next bus and not be late, if it runs often enough.