"Right to Disconnect" bill and what it means for employers

Woman waving goodbye to a coworker at the end of the work day. Woman waving goodbye to a coworker at the end of the work day. Woman waving goodbye to a coworker at the end of the work day. Woman waving goodbye to a coworker at the end of the work day.

Key takeaways

Learn more about the “Right to Disconnect” bill and what organizations can do to foster healthy workplace boundaries.

In a recent survey, 84% of participants indicated they believed workers should have the right to disconnect from work. Now, action is taking place on the legislative front.

A new bill was introduced in California in February advocating for employees to disconnect from employer communications during non-working hours. If passed, the mandate would require employers to outline working hours and guarantee full disconnection from work communications after hours. 13 other countries have passed similar laws safeguarding employee quality time outside of work including France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and more.

What it Means for Employers

The initiation of this bill demonstrates how much employees value their time. Whether it is spent on hobbies, time with family, or completing other personal responsibilities, quality time and the ability to disconnect are highly valued by individuals in an organization. 

This ability to disconnect, decompress, and recharge can help individuals feel more satisfied with their work, foster a higher level of trust, and aim to maintain low turnover levels. As an organization, consider how factoring this into your policies and culture approach could have a positive impact on individual wellness and productivity.

What Employers Can Do

Employers have done a wonderful job offering resources surrounding employee benefits education and solid personal finance tactics in their organizations, now let’s delve into a few ways companies can support an employee’s ability to disconnect and recharge after work.

Recognize and Reward Boundaries

Commandeering initiatives to set boundaries around time management after hours will empower your workforce to feel comfortable disconnecting. This can look like offering praise in a one-on-one meeting or validating choices to respond to last-minute requests during working hours only. Supporting employee boundaries shows a commitment to each individual and their values which encourages a healthy working culture.

Commit to Set Touch-Bases

Creating a set one-on-one meeting schedule offers a mutually agreed upon time to discuss project updates, transfer information, and process new initiates. Having time set aside regularly reduces the need for last-minute requests or updates. These meetings are a great place to foster a culture of open communication. Try discussing workload, unfinished projects, or hurdles related to progress on a regular basis to stay connected and informed. Consider working this in on each level of the organization to help reduce after-hour communication needs.

Establish and Streamline Communication Protocols

Be clear about expectations around working hours. If official working hours have not been determined, set them. Then, encourage managers, at every level, to respect these hours and keep work communications within these hours of operation. Detail out protocols and scenarios when after-hour communication is acceptable and offer solutions to prevent it in the future. Having this detailed as part of an onboarding process is an effective way to streamline communication.

Facilitating a work environment that allows for a healthy work-life balance demonstrates a commitment to your employees. Encouraging recharge time can have positive effects on productivity, work culture, and employee retention. For more information on improving overall employee satisfaction and loyalty, connect with us here.