The New Normal
Like it or not, the world has changed.
Some companies might not have ever considered work-from-home or flex-hour arrangements if the pandemic hadn't forced them to adapt...
... and I'm sure many of them can't wait to go back to the way things were and get everybody back in the office, 9 am to 5 pm, pronto!
But others are going to realize that "9 to 5" isn't realistic, or warranted... or even desirable.
Those companies might decide that allowing their employees to work when they do their best work makes the most sense.
Maybe your eight-hour workday starts at 6 am (when you're personally most productive) and goes until 8 am. Then you take a break to drop the kids off at the bus stop, spend an hour on your Peloton, have a post-workout shower, eat some breakfast, and do some reading. At 11 am you might get back to work and go straight until 3 pm (for meetings during "common hours"), then stop again to pick up the kids from the bus stop, prepare some dinner, eat, and enjoy some family time... before a final block of work from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm once the kids have gone to bed. That's a very different schedule from a standard "9 to 5" day, but I'm certain it would be a lot more productive (and enjoyable) for a lot of people.
Or perhaps your ideal workday would be an 8 am to 11 am work-block, followed by a yoga class and lunch, before a final 2 pm to 7 pm stretch. That's also not a "9 to 5"... but it's the same number of hours and (for some people) increased productivity.
Whatever it might look like, there's a good chance that "work" might not ever be a single block of time in your day again.
And that's a good thing. A standard "9 to 5" schedule might be required for shift-work, but knowledge work doesn't have to be so regimented.
It seems that Google recognizes that some companies want to enable this flexibility.
Yesterday, Google Calendar notified me that I can now designate multiple blocks of time as my "working hours"; in the screenshot below, I added an additional block of work time to my Monday, but the change offers almost unlimited flexibility.
And so both the companies that employ them and the tools they use to get work done need to evolve too.