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Enshrine right to disconnect from work, recruiter says


More than 80 per cent of professionals feel pressure to keep going beyond office hours, reveals Hays survey.

By Philip King 10 minute read

Four out of five professionals suffer pressure to work beyond office hours and would benefit from a “right to disconnect”, according to recruitment outfit Hays.

Asia-Pacific at CEO at Hays Matthew Dickason said the lines between work and personal time had blurred with a survey, of 25,000 professionals, revealing 36 per cent occasionally felt pressure to work after hours and 46 per cent felt it frequently.

Just 16 per cent never felt pressure to connect to work after hours.

Mr Dickason there was a need to formalise change.

“To protect employee health and wellbeing, improve productivity and reduce the risk of burnout, employers need to reprioritise work-life balance,” he said. “In today’s 24/7, hybrid and remote world, they must develop strategies to help their employees disconnect.

“The ‘right to disconnect’ refers to the ability of employees to switch off from work-related tasks and devices outside their normal working hours. It’s gaining renewed attention as a strategy to help minimise the risk of work following employees home or into their evening.”

In March, the Greens introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Right to Disconnect) Bill 2023, which seeks to legislate the right to disconnect after hours. The right to disconnect has already been recognised by several organisations, including Victoria Police and Queensland public school teachers.

In 2017, France became the first country to introduce a right to disconnect while Spain, Italy, and Belgium have since passed similar laws.

Mr Dickason said employers could make changes to help.

“Establish clear policies and guidelines around after-hours work, including limiting after-hours emails and phone calls.”

“Foster a culture where employees feel comfortable setting boundaries and prioritising personal time. Lead by example and model healthy work boundaries.

 “Encourage employees to prioritise their personal time and unplug from work when they are off the clock. This includes taking their full annual leave entitlements and disconnecting from work entirely during vacations and public holidays.

“If needed, provide training to educate employees on the importance of work-life balance and how to manage their workload effectively.”

For their part, staff should learn to set clear boundaries with their colleagues and managers, Mr Dickason continued.

“Communicate your working hours and let people know when you’re available and when you’re not.

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload, talk to a trusted colleague or your manager. Ask for support or help to prioritise tasks.

“Turn off work-related notifications at night and take time to rest, recharge, pursue interests and spend time with family and friends.

“Use your full annual leave to completely unplug from work so you can relax and return refreshed.”

Hays conducted the poll on LinkedIn and received 24,759 responses.


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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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