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  The Herman Trend Alert

November 18, 1998

More Movement Toward 24-Hour Living

Our lifestyles are changing. And, as a result, so is the world around us.

The strong economy has created greater demands on employers and on their employees. There's so much to do! And with the labor shortage, there simply aren't enough people to get it all done in the "normal" eight-hour day. So, people are working longer hours.

With both parents working (in dual income households) and a large proportion of single parents (moms and dads), the kids need some serious attention in the precious little time when the folks aren't at work. Maintaining some sort of balance between work and kids requires creative juggling and a re-examination of priorities. When can we get the shopping done? Run errands? Take care of all those little details of life?

More retailers are shifting to longer hours. Grocery stores, pharmacies, discount stores, and similar merchants are now open 24 hours. We're seeing evening hours at automotive service centers and specialty stores like Barnes & Noble (open until 11:00 p.m.). What's next?

Need an x-ray? Santara Hospitals in Norfolk offer 24-hour scheduling for radiology services.

The trend? Expect to see even more services available on a late-night or 24-hour basis. Municipal government offices, attorneys and accountants, doctors and dentists, florists, dry cleaners, repair shops, and maybe even the post office will be open later. Schools may be open later soon-giving the kids more education and reducing childcare needs.

How can merchants maintain those hours in times of a labor shortage? They employ people whose spouses are working other shifts and people who want to work more than one job. And they design staggered schedules for workers, spreading the work over a longer period of time . . . and thus making greater use of existing facilities.

Watch for companies to begin promoting long hours more as they compete for the business they need to keep going. And, anticipate continual evolution in how we spend our time to fulfill work, personal, and family obligations.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3547 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

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