Workers May Gain the “Right to Disconnect”, But Can They Live Without Email?

With recent legislation in some countries offering a “right to disconnect” and some U.S. cities looking to follow suit, Robert Half Technology surveyed IT leaders and office workers to see if they could ignore their inboxes after hours.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of technology leaders believe they could adhere to a ban on after-hours work emails, but 41 percent of office workers surveyed don’t think their manager would follow the rule.

Only 46 percent of employees were confident they could resist the temptation to check emails after work.

“Whether it’s a self-inflicted attachment to work or feeling pressure to provide immediate responses to leaders, time away from our jobs is not only healthy, but necessary to do our best work,” said Ryan Sutton, district president for Robert Half Technology. “With or without legislation, managers should be respectful of their employees’ personal time, as well as their own, to avoid burnout.” 

Additional findings:

Inbox addiction. Office workers in San Diego, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta would be most likely to answer emails after hours, despite any legislation giving them the freedom not to check in. Additionally, IT leaders in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Diego were least likely to obey a ban on after-work emails.

Email ban believers. IT leaders in Charlotte, Los Angeles and Miami were most confident in their ability to detach from work. Employees in Detroit, Cincinnati and Cleveland said they would have the least trouble disconnecting.

More employees, more difficult to disconnect. Managers in large companies (1,000 employees or more) reported being the least likely to stick to an after-hours email ban compared to those at smaller companies.

Managers who said they would be able to adhere to a ban and office workers who could resist sending job-related emails after work, by city:

So, would you be comfortable disconnecting for a week?

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