Has Homeworking meant we no longer have the Right to Disconnect?

By Bob Morrell on June 10, 2021

A recent news story has suggested that bosses are taking advantage of their homeworking staff by emailing them out of hours, expecting responses, and are disrupting the work/life balance. A Union has said that all workers should have the right to disconnect. They even go so far as to say that emails sent out of hours should be automatically deleted!

So, they’re formalising the split between work and home-life with some rules, which certain managers will have a real problem with because initially their ego, their power, will be diminished. If you suddenly could not make contact with someone in your team, what would that mean? How would you need to change the way you, the manager, work, in order to make sure your communication arrives at the right time.

So how do we feel about this? Do we feel put-upon if our bosses email us at night? Are they trying to prove something? That they’re working, when we’re not? This ‘presenteeism’ that used to be rife in offices now exists for remote workers too, and that can’t be right. But do we need laws to enforce this? Surely common sense must prevail?

One thing is certain, if more people stay at home, or work from home more regularly, then the businesses and organisations paying them will have to adapt and perhaps have their own rules.

I’ve always thought email signatures were fairly pointless, but now you could add your working hours, or your contention that people who receive your emails mustn’t feel they need to respond, except in office hours?

We’d love your thoughts on this, please.