18 Dec How will the right to disconnect transform the workplace?
The right to disconnect refers to a component of bill 27, a new bill called Working for Workers Act, that functions to give employees a better work-life balance while working remotely. During the pandemic, workers were burning out more quickly than usual because they would work past their expected work hours on a regular basis. Because employees had more time without other office duties, office relationships, commutes etc.; they used that extra time to complete more work. As employees seemed to be completing more work in the short term, they were becoming less productive long-term without the proper amount of rest and recover time.
What are the specifics of the right to disconnect regulation?
This new regulation is relevant to any employer who has built a workplace with 25 or more employees. If the employee has more than 25 employees, they must incorporate the new regulations presented in the Working for Workers act in their own work policy and ensure all their employees are aware of their new right to disconnect. Thus, these will be the workplaces that are most affected by this legal change.
Bill 27 outlines that they are going to be more stringent on three qualities: not being obligated to answer work-related calls or calls from your employer, to regulate the content and objective of after-hour communications, and acceptably changing their status on their online platform to “offline” at the acceptably regulated time.
A necessary quality of this provision, whatever changes the employer makes to their policies, must apply to all employees. For example, all changes made to the policy must impact both the managerial role as well as executive assistance of those roles.
How will this bill change workplace dynamics?
As stated previously, the right to disconnect was created to protect employees and can be extremely impactful when developing a better workplace culture. It can positively impact culture because the employer will be actively making changes for stronger employer-employee trust and accountability.
First, avoiding employee burnout can have a major effect on workplace culture. If employees can unplug from their work lives at a reasonable hour, they will expend more energy into completing their responsibilities within work hours. The delayed gratification of having a night for family without work commitments can greatly impact employee performance because employees know they will receive the proper amount of recovery.
Further, the right to disconnect often works in tandem with scheduling flexibility, like hybrid working conditions. In these conditions, the right to disconnect is holding the employer accountable for maintaining their “flexibility” guarantee to their employees. There will be a mutual respect between the employer and employee when both parties stick to schedule and trust one another to complete what is expected of them.
Lastly, as the employer discontinues or limits their correspondence with employees after hours, the employees will appreciate how their employer respects their privacy. When employers are in constant communication with their employees, it demonstrates a disrespect for employees’ personal lives by infringing on their private time. If employers set clear boundaries, and adhere to their own rules, employer-employee respect will be built within the workplace.
If the employer requires assistance in incorporating these new provisions into their workplace policies, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.