Right to disconnect: The remedy for WFH stress?

The right to disconnect is gaining momentum

Right to disconnect: The remedy for WFH stress?

The right to disconnect is gaining momentum across the world, as more and more employees call for a ban on out of office emails. In France and Ireland, employers have agreed to a right to disconnect law, giving workers the fundamental right to disengage from any work-related messages.

Now, it seems as if Canada may be following suit. Earlier this year, the Canadian government announced their plans to consider a right to disconnect for all federal workers. If the policy is passed, federal staff would not have to respond to any calls, emails, or messages after their working day is ‘officially’ done.

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But should this proposed rule go even further? Should all employees be given that right to switch off, disengage, and enjoy a more fulfilling work-life balance? There’s no denying that the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in unpaid overtime – compounded by a decline in worker metal health. Could this out of hours ban be the answer to our ongoing wellbeing woes?

Speaking to HRD, Sridhar Iyengar, MD of Zoho, explained the importance of right to disconnect. 

“Business leaders must take a more human approach,” Iyengar commented. “Employers and organizations should have the tools and culture for collaborative working and so understand that different people may have personal priorities and will respond to work related matters when it suits their lives best. Work as we know has become fluidic, with workforces operating from anywhere and at different times, depending on when they are most productive. A progressive and dynamic organisation should analyse this and adapt, to accommodate the employees’ personal needs with a healthy work balance.

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 “Leaders must take a flexible approach to understanding there is no 'one size fits all' approach that can be applied to home working and must be sensitive to how employees are best able to make this work for themselves and the companies for which they work. Now that employee wellbeing is in the spotlight, every company, large or small must move with the times and find new ways of working.”

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