To disconnect from work that has become too accessible

Implementing a health and wellness strategy in the workplace is an example of how to “humanize” programs offered to employees. These strategies often include teleworking and the option to manage your own schedule. So isn’t it paradoxical that we often encounter a problem of “overconnection” ? Is it possible that, in a world where everything is accessible at our fingertips, this very practical accessibility causes us as much harm as good? This is a two-edged sword.

The right to disconnect is a subject that has been in the news since France legislated this right in January 2017. The new law gives employees the right to limit their availability to scheduled working hours, and the duty to companies to regulate IT tools to ensure compliance with rest time[1]. In Quebec, the Québec Solidaire party recognized the same issue by tabling a bill on the right to disconnect.

Because questions remain: what are the real impacts of hyperconnection on physical and mental health? Will a law really change our behavior? Scientific studies are underway. In the absence of these responses, the wise employer puts in place practices that aim to prevent possible harmful effects such as physical consequences (e.g. musculoskeletal disorders), psychological consequences (e.g. stress and anxiety ) and social consequences (e.g. isolation and family tensions)[2].

These practices could start with an internal audit to determine if there is a problem. Question the scales already in place that limit business activities outside of working hours. Also ask the following questions:Do I give recognition to my employees who respond to their emails at 2 a.m., or do I tell them it could have waited until the next morning? Do I respond outside of hours too as a leader?If the answer is “yes often”, there may be a “hyperconnection” problem. in the company, and we must start by setting an example. Consider the possibility of implementing a policy that determines work time slots and rest time slots. For example at Iceberg Management, we do not send emails between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., unless there is an emergency, and we only respond when we are working.

In conclusion, excess of any good thing has a perverse effect. As much as we love the ability to work flexibly, we also need to set limits. The overuse of work-related technological tools has negative consequences on health, which goes against our health and wellness strategy which offers us more flexibility. Do you see the paradox?

SOURCES:

[1]The duty,France gives itself the right to disconnect, [Online]. https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/actualites-en-societe/488269/travail-la-france-se-donne-le-droit-a-la-deconnexion (Page consulted on May 8, 2019)
[2]Order of CRHA, Limit or not the connection outside of working hours? [Online].https://ordrecrha.org/ressources/dossiers-speciaux/droit-deconnexion(Page consulted on May 8, 2019)

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