Should We Be Working, Outside Of Work?

In January 2017, France introduced legislation which gave workers the right to disconnect. Simply put, this made it compulsory for companies with over 50 employees to allow workers to leave their work precisely where it should be – the office. It established hours out-with the working day, during which employees should not send or receive any work-related emails.

The logic behind the legislation is easily understood. The idea of leaving the office for the day, only to arrive home to countless emails regarding the days work is not far-fetched – if anything, it’s common. Even if we choose not to answer them, the thought of work inevitably plagues our minds, meaning we return to work the next day still drained as we failed to fully disconnect the night before. The validity of this vicious cycle of work related worries is supported by an Employee Outlook report carried out by CIPD in Spring 2017, which found that a third of employees agree that remote access to the workplace means that they can’t fully switch off in their own personal time.

It seems that the lines between our personal and working lives have undoubtedly been blurred as a result of the digital age – however, is this always a bad thing?

In the same report by CIPD, it was found that over half (51%) of employees felt that having remote access to the workplace after they leave allowed them to work more flexibly. Furthermore, 41% agreed that it helped them keep on top of their workload, while 37% believed it helped them be more productive. These figures are not much of a surprise when we consider the growth in popularity of flexible working.

Flexible working in our current climate is not just limited to working mothers, as in previous years. Millennials have now wracked up a reputation for being most efficient when working in flexible conditions, rather than in a strict and routine office setting. Working from outside the office is a crucial part of this, with the number of companies offering a ‘working from home’ option steadily increasing. According to a study by PWC, millennials will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020, so it’s undeniable that this way of working will only become more widespread.

 work from home

Clearly, there is two stark arguments when it comes to remote working. With regards to France’s right to disconnect, it is undeniable that its aim to reduce stress of employees came from a justified stance. In our recent article, Why are Employee Resignations at a Five Year High?, we discussed the reasons behind a surge in employee resignations, with stress and company culture at the forefront of the list. This undoubtedly suggests a crucial need for employers to develop and maintain employee engagement, which in turn will produce a happy and efficient workforce.

It is clear that working from out-with the office isn’t for everyone, but as technology and the ability to work remotely progresses, it is important for companies to offer it as a possibility. This could not only make some employees lives a lot easier, but they will be grateful and are likely to feel appreciative toward their employer if flexibility is something they need.

The offer of flexible working, however, should not be employers only step toward improving employee engagement. Efforts should also be made within the workplace to ensure employees are happy in their working environment, as this will ultimately facilitate them to work to a higher standard. This is particularly true for those who do not like to take work home with them. Limiting stress throughout the day is crucial toward helping employees disconnect from their work once they leave at the end of the day.

So, what can employers do to limit this stress? The office is practically a second home for us, so it’s important we don’t dread spending time there. Firstly, it’s important to make sure it is a comfortable environment, where employees are encouraged to not only focus on work, but socialise and take occasional breaks away from their desk. This ensures they have a moment to rejuvenate rather than burning out from endless work. Secondly, employers must ensure they listen to any issues experienced by employees. If it’s a genuine concern, take the time to resolve it, and if something needs changed – change it! Making sure employees are happy is a huge investment in the company – happy employees result in a more productive work force.

At Stafffinders, we understand that each individual has their own preferences regarding how they work. That’s why we offer a range of opportunities, in a wide range of sectors. These range from part-time, full-time, permanent, and temporary – meaning there’s bound to be something that suits you. Have a look at our current listings here: