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Implement the right to disconnect in your company's culture

Implement the right to disconnect
In this post we will be discussing about the right to disconnect: measures to implement this right inside your company’s culture.
The right to digital disconnection is the right of employees not to answer calls, emails or messages outside working hours.
Although it is a law drafted in 2018 and with a new resolution regarding workers health policy recently approved by the European parliament, affecting therefore to countries like France, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc., there are many companies that, in 2021, have yet to implement it. In addition, the context of Covid-19 and the need for remote working at home has blurred the boundaries between work hours and personal time.
In this article we summarize some of the key aspects of the RD-Law on remote work and give some tips for incorporating this new law into the organizational culture.

What does the right to disconnect law say?

The new law can be summarized in the following points:
  1. Employees will have the right to disconnect in order to guarantee the respect of their rest time.
  2. The modalities for exercising this right shall be in accordance with the nature and purpose of the employment relationship.
  3. The employer shall elaborate an internal policy defining the modalities of the exercise of the right to disconnection and the necessary training and awareness actions.

As we talked in our post: Boost happiness and productivity at work, (you can read it here), there are several psychological studies which show that happy teams are productive teams. Companies that invest in employees happiness and health, and strive to develop and work on emotions, end up improving their performance significantly.

Regulation of remote working gets in the scene

In addition, due to the forced implementation of remote working at home due to the COVID pandemic, the regulation of remote teleworking has recently been published (you can read it here in spanish). This regulation specifies that teleworking will be voluntary and implies certain obligations from the company, such as compensating the worker for the costs related to the equipment and resources necessary for the development of his or her activity.

How can we incorporate this law into the culture of the organization?

Transforming a company’s culture is a long process, but simple measures can be adapted to promote change. Below, we share some initiatives to put into practice:

Understanding the motivations behind this right

To adapt a new law, it is advisable to understand and convey the reasons why it is created. In this case, the telework law arises with the aim of respecting the workers’ rest hours. In this way, the company could avoid the burnout syndrome and reduce employee turnover.

Communicating changes at the operational level

It is necessary to communicate how this measure can have an impact on the way of working. For example, some companies have decided that workers will not be able to log on at certain times, such as weekends and holidays. To achieve the right to disconnect, the company can create training and awareness-raising actions on the subject, showing the importance and benefits of respecting the team’s private hours.

Measuring team satisfaction and well-being

It is essential to measure the satisfaction of the team and listen to their opinions on the subject. To this end, we recommend establishing direct communication channels and sending out satisfaction surveys on a regular basis.

“Having a culture of respect for labour rights (including the right to disconnect) in place boosts your employer branding. Visit the next post if you want to learn more about employer branding.”

Final conclusions

In essence, respecting our team’s private time will promote the well-being of the organization and directly affect their happiness and the company’s results. This is proved by a study by the University of Warwick, which states that happy employees are 12% more productive.
“When people are invested financially, they want a return. When people are invested emotionally, they want to contribute.” - Simon Sinek
There is new software and platforms that help promote and monitor digital detox plans for the sake of the workers’ health. Automated notifications and emails can be set up to encourage breaks, working hours schedule, tips to follow at home and assistance to encourage tech-free habits and policy.
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