A number of countries have recently introduced legislation giving employees the legal right to disconnect electronically from work. Originating in France, right-to-disconnect initiatives mandate that organizations cannot expect employees to be available outside of their established working hours.
However, by maintaining a focus on a set of established working hours during which employees must be available, the right to disconnect simply takes the physical time clock off the wall and figuratively puts it into the cloud. Although an important initiative, a greater focus on employee autonomy is needed to maximize the benefits intended by these laws. Although the right to disconnect may foster high performance by allowing employees to recharge their batteries, the major intent is to promote employees’ work-life balance by allowing them to disengage from work, handle different responsibilities and ensure their well-being. Right-to-disconnect laws signal a greater focus on employee well-being, and a rejection of the idea that workers need to be “always on.”
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence.