Skip to main content

New 'right to disconnect' rules could help fend off employee burnout

remote working
(Image credit: Image Credit: Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock )

Ireland wants to take the lead in shaping remote working practices to ensure employees are able to establish an effective work-life balance, ZDNet reports.

Remote and flexible working practices have been celebrated as an opportunity to improve the happiness and wellbeing of workers everywhere. However, many employees found they couldn’t stay away from their work devices and the move away from offices blurred the line between the time to work and the time to rest. 

This has resulted in an overworked and stressed workforce that burns out faster than ever before. 

To tackle the issue in Ireland, the country’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Leo Varadkar, has released a new set of guidelines, called the Right to Disconnect.

The rules give employees the right to completely switch off at 5:30PM, or whenever they agree with their employers the workday ends. After the agreed time, workers cannot be asked to handle work-related calls and emails.

"The code of practice comes into effect immediately and applies to all types of employment, whether you are working remotely or not," said Varadkar. "It will help employees, no matter what their job is, to strike a better work-life balance and switch off from work outside of their normal working hours." 

There are two main issues with this approach; some people working flexible hours can’t be put into a nine-to-five template and, secondly, the guidelines are not legally binding.