Brits At Work
A recent article from HR Grapevine revealed that British employees receive five to ten work-related emails out of office hours daily. The findings in the article were the result of a new poll from technology provider Fasthosts. They polled 2,000 employees, and the results reveal that office workers are finding it difficult to strike a work-life balance, with almost 49.2% receiving five to ten work emails outside their regular working hours.
A few interesting points were unearthed as a result of the poll, including;
- 49.2% of respondents receive anything from 1 to 5 work-related emails outside of hours.
- A total of 70% of those we spoke to said this is sometimes as high as 10 per day!
- 67% of Brits generally reply to after-work correspondence.
- 16% say they always reply no matter what.
A closer look at the data reveals that 1-in-2 Brits feel that receiving and answering after-work emails hurts their personal lives, with 9.8% saying it significantly affects them. If this wasn’t proof enough that after-work emails are harmful to health and personal time, 74.6% of Brits admit to spending up to 3 hours per day replying, and 12% confess to spending even longer. 4% even experience FOMO if they don’t receive any post-work emails, seeing a quiet inbox as a bad thing.
This is prohibited in Ireland under the “right to disconnect”. At the moment, there’s no equivalent law in the UK. However, trade union Prospect and thinktank Autonomy have called for a “right to disconnect” for UK workers. The proposed new legislation would require two new amendments to the Employment Rights Act 1996 – and any breach of the legislation would give employees the right to take their employer to an employment tribunal.
As reported by HR Grapevine, Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, stated that the COVID pandemic has
“accelerated the need to create much clearer boundaries between work-life and home-life”.
Deputy Leader of the Labour party, Angela Rayner, supports the proposal, saying:
“In the modern workplace, we cannot find ourselves in a place where workers are expected to compromise their families, responsibilities or hobbies in order to meet employer expectations. It’s not a sustainable way to run an economy. Many good businesses want to see these sorts of protections guaranteed to workers across the board.”
There is no indication that the UK government intends to adopt the “right to disconnect” proposal. But, with mental health increasingly on the agenda for British workers, it’s an issue that’s unlikely to go away. In the meantime, do employers and HR teams need to step to the plate and ensure post-work emails are a thing of the past?