Late Night Pings25 Mar, 20223 Mins
When is it too late to send and respond to emails or texts from work?
Last year, Portugal introduced a new law that fines employers who contact remote workers out of hours. Similar bans on contacting employees out of contracted hours exist in Germany, Slovakia, Italy and France.
Should there be such a law in the UK too?
A study of 3.1 million workers in Europe, North America and the Middle East compared working conditions before and after the pandemic. They found a significant increase in the number of emails sent and responded to during the pandemic, and working time went up by 48.3 minutes on average.
Yes, we can turn off our notifications after our workday is over, but that’s difficult if you know there will be repercussions and potential punishment from your employer. Plus, we want to be seen as dedicated, and there can be an expectation of being always available.
So, should managers just stop sending messages at 9pm or 11pm, or should they continue if they don’t mind a response later the next morning?
Companies could look at establishing a written policy that sets out generous response times for emails and encourages employees to turn off notifications out of hours. Volkswagen and Daimler in Germany both have policies that do this.
Even if you know you don’t have to respond, it’s easy to get dragged into a work issue late at night and then struggle to sleep just because you heard that dreaded ‘ping’.
With the pandemic pushing forward remote working, the right to disconnect from work has become more of an issue. We all need a work-life balance.
But whether a law is needed to address it now or in the future is an interesting one.
Written by Jason Connolly