The ‘right to disconnect’ from work emails and text messages

Having a life outside of work is highly important; not having one is detrimental to the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in the organisation. There is a lot a pressure on people and having a demanding job or boss can sometimes affect personal lives.

Too often leaders forget that there is a need to disconnect from work and have personal time, or even that employees have a life outside of work. Sometimes the boundaries between both can become blurred, particularly with the prevalence of modern technology. Smart phones enable an “always-on” culture that is not healthy.

It’s an under the surface issue that is easy to ignore. One would think that people go home at the end of the day and relax, let their hair down and get on with whatever takes their fancy on off-the-clock-time. But what about those emails that would be left unanswered? Those phone calls that employees really feel should be answered? Sometimes work is all someone can think about, and some employees have very little down-time as a result. A strong work ethic is a good thing for an organisation and great for a team but even those teams with a strong achievement culture take some time off.

That’s why the awareness of mental health issues and the availability of wellbeing activities in the workplace for employers and managers alike is sorely needed. An employee needs to be viewed as an asset with a whole array of needs rather than a functional point in an organisation that can be replaced when it’s broken.

When employees are happy and feel valued, then a beautiful transformation takes place; productivity rockets and staff turnover plummets. Businesses with low staff retention start to become highly sought after places to work and their reputation enables them to attract the most capable candidates.

An employee is a whole person. A person that needs stimulating physically, mentally and emotionally. They are people with personal issues, problems of their own, needs, wants and desires. When a business takes on the role of employer, they also take this on board too.

That’s why at St Andrews Consulting we view leadership as a whole package, and not a work place issue. We recognise the personal need for downtime – that people need time to get away from work properly. All staff need to relax and be their own person for that small amount of time that working life allows. Ultimately, refreshed employees make far happier and more engaged workers.

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