NYC considers a 'right to disconnect,' but employees aren't sure it will help
- A bill introduced in The New York City Council would make it unlawful for private employers in the city to require workers to check and respond to email and other electronic communications during non-work hours.
- The bill, which does make an exception for emergencies, follows similar moves in France and South Korea.
- In a recent Office Pulse survey, more than half of workers reported that they'd be in favor of such a law. Twenty-four percent, however, said they think it's bad idea, while 22% said that such a law wouldn't stop their boss from expecting them to respond. Employee seniority seems to be a factor, Office Pulse said: Junior managers said that a bill would not stop their boss from expecting them to respond to emails after work (39%), more than middle managers (26%) and those in senior manager positions or above (23%).
Employees report that they're doing a good amount of work on what is supposed to be personal time, even while they're on vacation.
But working nearly around the clock can be stressful, and employees sometimes experience fatigue, burnout and chronic health conditions as a result. For employers, this can mean higher healthcare costs, absenteeism and lower productivity.
Some members of the business community recognize that there's a problem, but generally feel that legislation isn't the answer. Instead, employers can address morale and retention issues by encouraging workers to disconnect and take vacations; they also can discourage managers from emailing, texting and calling workers after hours for non-emergency reasons.