Working conditions

Right to disconnect: Exploring company practices

Report
Published
9 September 2021
pdf
Formats and languages
Executive summary in 22 languages
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Author(s): 
Weber, Tina

Sejbiet ewlenin

  • Home-based teleworkers are twice as likely to exceed the 48-hour working time limit as workers onsite and are significantly more likely to work in their free time. Following the shift to telework during the pandemic, this is likely to lead to more hybrid working arrangements in the future, putting the spotlight on whether existing labour legislation is fit for purpose.
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  • Home-based teleworkers are twice as likely to exceed the 48-hour working time limit as workers onsite and are significantly more likely to work in their free time. Following the shift to telework during the pandemic, this is likely to lead to more hybrid working arrangements in the future, putting the spotlight on whether existing labour legislation is fit for purpose.
  • The experience of the first four Member States that have introduced rules and agreements on the right to disconnect prior to 2021 has demonstrated the pivotal role of the social partners in ensuring these rules are translated into reality on the ground. In countries with weaker industrial relations, legislation can provide a fallback option to ensure minimum standards are met.
  • The introduction of the right to disconnect in companies has revealed that a ‘soft’ approach through awareness raising, training and the management of out of hours connection is more common than a ‘hard disconnection’, which severs access to company communication during specific times.
  • New agreements and texts addressing the right to disconnect will need to consider the issues that lead to the ‘perceived’ need for constant connection, such as workload, lack of training and work processes that feed overconnection. High-level buy-in and regular reinforcement of the message on the importance of the right to disconnect will be critical for its success.
  • Although evidence of the impact of the right to disconnect on employee health and well-being, work–life balance, gender equality and company performance is lacking, social partners’ experiences at company level suggest that positive changes in company culture are taking place following the introduction of the right to disconnect.
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Sommarju

Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work at any time and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Eurofound data show that teleworkers are twice as likely to exceed the 48-hour working time limit, take insufficient rest and work in their fRead more

Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work at any time and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Eurofound data show that teleworkers are twice as likely to exceed the 48-hour working time limit, take insufficient rest and work in their free time, with knock-on effects on their physical and mental health. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report is based on case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level. It builds on previous Eurofound research that shows an increase in collective agreements providing for a right to disconnect in countries that have enshrined this right in their legislation. With the exponential growth in teleworking brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of striking a better balance between the opportunities and the challenges associated with teleworking and ICT-based flexible working has become more relevant than ever before.

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Formats and languages

  • Report

    Number of pages: 
    70
    Reference no.: 
    EF21049
    ISBN: 
    978-92-897-2186-8
    Catalogue no.: 
    TJ-05-21-238-EN-N
    DOI: 
    10.2806/748556
    Catalogue info

    Right to disconnect: Exploring company practices

    Author(s): 
    Weber, Tina

    Formats

    Cite this publication: 

    Eurofound (2021), Right to disconnect: Exploring company practices, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

  • Executive summary

    Reference no.: 
    EF21049EN1
    Catalogue info

    Right to disconnect: Exploring company practices

    Author(s): 
    Eurofound

    Available for download in 22 languages

    Download
  • Working papers

    Related working papers

  • Tables and graphs

    The report contains the following lists of tables and figures.

    List of tables

    Table 1: Main opportunities and risks of ICT-based mobile work for work and employment

    Table 2: Reasons for an absence of debate on the right to disconnect, mid-2020

    Table 3: Case study companies and dates of texts containing the right to disconnect

    Table 4: Dates, titles, nature, signatories, scope and coverage of the texts analysed

    Table 5: Modalities and key features of connection and disconnection

    Table 6: Main approaches to monitoring used by case study companies

    Table 7: Qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered on implementation and impact of the right to disconnect

    List of figures

    Figure 1: Teleworking during the pandemic, July 2020 (%)

    Figure 2: Share of employees in different ICT-based flexible arrangements working in their free time daily or weekly, 2015 (%)

    Figure 3: Experience of teleworking and working hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, July 2020 (%)

    Figure 4: Share of emails received outside of regular working hours that were addressed immediately (%)

    Figure 5: Preferences regarding telework post pandemic by teleworking status, July 2020 (%)

    Figure 6: Right to disconnect and status of legislation and debate in EU Member States, mid-2021

    Figure 7: Key elements of hard and soft approaches to disconnection

Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.

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