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The French ‘right to disconnect’ – how it just might #HelpGBWorkWell

“My mind is constantly going. For me to completely relax, I gotta get rid of my cell phone.”

These are the words of Kenny Chesney, perhaps an unlikely commentator on the ground-breaking French ‘right to disconnect’. But – however unwittingly – the American country music singer and brief husband of Renee Zellwegger has hit the nail on the head.

Technology ­­– and specifically, the smartphone – have catapulted us into the world of ‘always on’. Information is pushed to us every waking hour. We respond to work emails by the light of a bedside lamp. But we’re not built to live like this. And frankly, it’s making us ill.

In 2015/16, 0.5 million UK workers were suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Many attribute these stats to the growing pressure to respond to work emails – out of hours. It’s little surprise, then, that the French ‘right to disconnect’ should attract so much attention in the UK.

What is the right to disconnect?

On 1 January 2017, a new law was passed in France, giving workers the ‘right to disconnect’ from work-related emails after hours. Companies with more than 50 workers will now have to draw up a charter of good conduct, setting out the hours when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails.

Though there are no current plans for the law to be enforced this side of the Channel, media coverage of the French decision has made us all sit up and take notice. With technology blurring the distinction between work and home, we must find new ways to set boundaries.

It will get us talking

The fact that one country has formalised the ‘right to disconnect’ means we all have to consider it. It’s already prompting healthy debate about what employers expect from their people, and what people expect from their employer. It may be that the blend of a connected work and home life suits some folks, while others want to single-mindedly graft at work, to secure peace at home later. We just have to find out about each other. Understand each other’s circumstances. And that’s a good thing.

Companies everywhere have different methods to prevent burn out

Outside of France, companies the world over are trying new ways to address the constant threat of staff burnout. In 2014, Daimler offered an ‘auto-delete’ function to staff receiving work emails while on holiday. One American insurance firm has begun distributing sleep monitors and rewarding staff who manage 20 consecutive nights of good sleep. Pretty radical ideas. We think there is another way.

isCompliant can help you disconnect

isCompliant was designed for people with hectic business lives. It was designed for people with ‘to-do’ lists as long as your arm. Busy people who are striving to keep their business in good shape at the same time as trying to make a buck. People who’re often tempted to just reply to one last email before putting out the light at night. People who know they easily slip into being ‘always on’.

isCompliant’s intelligent software rationalises your business into one intuitive and visual dashboard. It drives good working practice into the fabric of your business, supporting timely scheduling and clarifying your priorities. It saves you time, reduces project stress, and manages all the elements of your business that impact on quality, service or product delivery. Making your business more likely to prosper. The result? Knowing that isCompliant has everything under control means that you and your people have the confidence to leave work where it belongs – at the office.

Time to disconnect from work, and connect wholeheartedly with home.

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