If You Disconnect After Work, Would You Get in Trouble?
Could you imagine not having to worry about work after leaving work?
In this digital age, many of us are always "on." But as countries overseas make major changes to reduce how much one's job intrudes on their personal life, cities in the U.S., like NYC, are looking to follow suit.
"Right to disconnect" laws, like what's in place in France, give workers a mental break when they're off the clock. The laws vary from government to government, but they all essentially prohibit an employer from penalizing most workers for failing to respond to work-related messages after hours.
"You need to get away. You need to disconnect," said Barbara Pachter, a business etiquette expert in Cherry Hill. "People need downtime. If you don't have downtime there's a lot of stress ... and it can not only consume you, it can affect your health."
Pachter said certain matters can wait until the next day, but "common sense isn't so common," and some companies may benefit from regulating the expectations of employees' after-hours availability.
In a survey from Robert Half Technology, two-thirds of workplace technology leaders throughout the country said they could adhere to a ban on work emails after the workday is over. In the same survey, 41 percent of workers said they don't think their manager could follow such a rule. Less than half of employees felt confident they could resist the temptation to check emails after work.
"With or without legislation, managers should be respectful of their employees' personal time, as well as their own, to avoid burnout," said Ryan Sutton, district president for Robert Half Technology.
In New York City, officials are considering legislation that would impose hefty fines on employers of 10 or more workers that retaliate on workers who fail to communicate after work hours.