Give your employees the right to disconnect

The holiday season is officially upon us: the office is half empty, the pace of life a little slower and even the commute to work has been a pleasure. All this al fresco living got us thinking in the office about work-life balance and how we can provide our employees with the “right to disconnect”.

Allow employees to disconnect

As a suggestion, why not take heed from the French and encourage employees to disconnect from technology once they’ve done their hours in the office (or at home) and enjoy some time away from a screen.

Last year, French companies were required to guarantee their employees the right to ignore their smartphones outside of work hours. It meant that businesses of 50 or more employees must negotiate a set of rights with their staff about when they have to work outside of contracted hours.

The measure was brought in to tackle the “always-on” work culture that has led to an expectation that employees must pick up emails and messages all day, every day. The French Ministry of Labour warned that workers’ health would suffer from “info-obesity” in the shape of stress, burnout and sleeplessness.

We’ve touched on the double-edged sword that is technology before, noting how it “gives us the freedom to work from anywhere, [but] it makes it harder to switch off.” Helping businesses to find ways to protect their employees’ leisure time is something we’re very passionate about.

Protecting employee mental health

It’s not just people’s health that suffers from being always-on; so too does their output. A Stanford University study found that productivity starts to plateau once they hit the 50-hour mark in a working week, and sharply declines when they reach 60+ hours. This tallied with a separate study from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business Professor Erin Reid, who found that managers couldn’t tell the difference between employees who worked 80 hours a week and employees who only pretended to.

On the flip side, a group of neurologists from the research organisation Kovert Designs decided to study the effect of a complete digital detox on 35 CEOs, entrepreneurs and other influencers. After just three days in the Moroccan desert, they found that the participants’ posture improved, their eye-contact with others in the group increased, they noted improved memory, and they slept better.

So, if you want more alert, better focussed and clearer thinkers to make up your organisation, consider implementing your very own ‘right to disconnect’ policy.

At Cognition24, our employee health and well-being is paramount to the core values of our organisation.  Forbes is predicting that we are in an era of “employee experience”. In other words, businesses will start to recognise the commercial benefits of a superior EX and prioritise actively trying to cultivate it. Learn how our Salesforce and Change Management solutions can improve morale, productivity and your bottom line.