24/7 is an abbreviation which stands for "24 hours a day, 7 days a week", usually referring to a business or service available at all times without interruption. In the UK it may be known as round-the-clock service, with or without the hyphens.
In commerce and industry it sometimes identifies a service that will be present regardless of current time or day, as might be offered by a supermarket, convenience store, ATM, automated online assistant, Filling station, restaurant, concierge services or a manned computer data facility. Today, it is common for call centers to have representatives available 24/7. This is due to, in part, a decrease in long distance call charges, which allow employees based in one continent and time zone to provide services to customers in another during its night hours.
In some cases, even a service stated to be available 24/7 may shut down, such as on a major holiday.
An extended version 24/7/365 intends to denote a service that is available year-round, by including the number of days per year.
There have been some criticisms of misuse of the abbreviation in the internet age, with companies claiming to be available 24/7 when actually only their websites, unattended by any staff, are in operation. When not only services are intended to be available 24/7, but employees are also expected to adapt their working hours with similar flexibility, such 24/7 workplaces can put employees under conditions that limit their personal life choices and development. Calls for a re-humanisation of the 24/7 workplace have therefore been voiced. Some have also remarked on the "collective mania" especially in the United States that takes a sort of pride in the "work at all times" attitude exemplified by the 24/7 concept.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the Sunday trading laws prevent many stores' opening truly 24/7, though they sometimes advertise as such. Some core services such as filling stations are exempt from the law requiring them to close. A campaign against changing the law was supported by many bodies including the Church of England, the Church in Wales and many secular bodies, called Keep Sunday Special.
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