May 8, 2024

What is the Right to Disconnect? Exploring boundaries in the Digital Age

This post was written by: Ilinca Mardarescu

In a world dominated by constant connectivity and technology, the lines between work and personal life have blurred. This is especially due to the rise of remote work as a result of the pandemic.

Many workers found themselves at home, answering emails and scheduling work calls many hours after their normal working day had ended.  This caused employees to have less time to unwind and de-stress, ultimately leading to less sleep.

This ever-growing phenomenon has led the Labour party to consider “The Right to Disconnect”, a proposal that allows employees to detach from work outside of their regular contracted hours.

This would mean that once an employee has finished their shift or regular working hours, they should not receive or respond to any calls, emails, or messages that are work-related.  The proposed Bill would actively restrict employers from contacting employees outside of their contracted hours.

At this stage there are no details given so it is unclear whether this will be a strict rule or whether certain exceptions would be in-built into the legislation.  Employers are hopeful that there will be sensible rules allowing contact if there is a real need, especially for senior employees who might need to be available outside of working hours.

The Labour Party has however emphasised the pressing need to define the boundary between personal time and work in our digitally overwhelmed age.

Moving forward, maintaining a balance that respects both professional responsibilities and personal boundaries will be key to encouraging a healthier and sustainable workplace culture.