A new study on the “right to disconnect” has indicated that employees who are forced to have no interaction with work-related matters after their shifts feel more stressed than those who are not similarly barred. The findings came as part of study by the UK’s University of Sussex, which showed that staff members who were not allowed to check work emails after hours were more stressed than those who faced no such prohibition.
The study also indicated that the problem was likely to be more acute among workers already prone to anxiety or other stress-related conditions. According to Emma Russell, a senior lecturer in human resource management at the university and one of the co-authors of the report, the findings reflect the different way individuals handle their work responsibilities, while noting that people should be allowed to deal with email and other after-work responsibilities in the way that suits their personality and lets them best manage their own workloads.
The “right to disconnect” has become a major topic of debate among workers’ representatives and employees on a worldwide basis, with Canadian policymakers said be among those considering giving workers the right to ignore after-hours emails. This would follow the lead given by France, which adopted legislation in 2016 enshrining the right of employees to ignore job-related notifications and devices when not at work.