The right to switch off

Recent articles have shown that 2 fifths of adults look at their phones within just 5 minutes of waking up and for those under 35 this has risen to just under 2 thirds. People feel the compulsion to check their phone constantly and ultimately this has a knock on effect on business life and face to face interaction.

It has become the norm for people to check their emails before and after work, just like it has become the norm for business to be conducted outside of the usual working hours. At what point do people actually switch off, spend time with their friends and families without the interruption of their phones and work? People begin to feel overloaded.

The right to disconnect is a proposed human right regarding the ability of people to disconnect from work and not engage in work-related electronic communication during non-work hours. Several countries including France and Italy have some form of the right included in their law, this right is also present in the policy of many large companies and has most recently been discussed in Luxembourg. In France the law requires organisations to negotiate with their employees to reach agreements about their right to disconnect and the steps to ensure it happens.

No equivalent law yet exists in the UK and we can imagine that to do so would prove challenging however, with the alarming increase of mental health problems triggered by work-related stress it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this become a popular topic of debate.

In recruitment we often see individuals who struggle with 24/7 working and this has led them to become disillusioned at firms, if you are seeking a new opportunity feel free to get in touch with one of our consultations on 020 7332 2924.