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Staff have right to disconnect

Staff have right to disconnect

It wasn’t long ago that clients used to send briefs to agencies by post and bike, but with the advent of technology and more notably, greater access to email through handheld devices, there has been a considerable increase in the workload for staff in advertising firms across the UK and Europe.

This has lead to huge amounts of pressure and stress on marketing agency staff as it has been found that a number are taking their work home and are unable to switch off. As a result, many are leaving the industry altogether.

Earlier this year, France’s labour minister Myriam El Khomri took a stand by introducing the “Right to disconnect” law, which stipulated that organisations with over 50 staff members were required to negotiate with employees on their right to switch off from work.

The goal of the negotiations is to agree on an employee’s right to ignore work related requests outside of their regular work hours. The measure has come about in an effort to tackle the “always-on” work culture that has resulted in the surge in usually unpaid overtime.

Furthermore a recent study by the daily newspaper “Le Monde” found that approximately 3.2 million French workers are at a risk of “burning out”, defined as a combination of physical exhaustion and emotional anxiety, with overuse of digital devices being attributed to sleeplessness and relationship problems.

Meanwhile, in 2014 Germany’s labour ministry passed a legislation banning managers from calling or emailing their staff outside of work hours except in an emergency. This prompted German companies to reduce the burden of overworking their staff, according to the BBC.

Though the UK and France are known for having an official 35-hour work week, for many companies the reality is much longer, thus measures must be put in place to address this issue so as to avoid negative health impacts from being overworked.

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