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Is the right to disconnect effectively being implemented or does it exist only on paper?

03 October 2023 Employers
Miet Vanhegen

So as to be compliant with the Labour Deal as an employer, you are supposed to put in place arrangements with employees on the right to disconnect. The Talent Pulse employee survey conducted by Acerta and Stepstone just before the summer showed that a lot of employees remain unaware of the existence of any specific guidelines on the topic of disconnecting within their organisation. Drafting guidelines is not the real challenge. The real challenge is: which guidelines and, more than anything else, how do you make sure they work?

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No mental well-being without disconnecting

Disconnecting is about being able to switch off from work, something we can all do with from time to time. Which means that guidelines on disconnecting in actual fact are about mental well-being. Getting to grips with disconnecting from work starts out by mapping things out. Comparing employer and employee surveys side by side, it appears that employers often have a more positive idea of their employees’ mental well-being than the employees themselves. However, rather than relying on gut feeling, it is important to have an accurate idea of how your employees are doing. Because mental well-being plays an important part in an individual’s motivation, performance and retention.

Mental well-being is already a hotly debated HR topic. But effectively getting to grips with this remains a challenge in its own right. Even though it is not exact science, there are parameters which, combined, provide a reliable barometer about mental well-being. It is this concrete information that enables you to determine which kind of actions to put in place and - equally important! - which kind of actions are actually successful.

Concrete agreements make happy colleagues

Back to the Labour deal. As required by law, are of no consequence if your people do not know about them, if these arrangements are not effectively being implemented. Your executives are key figures in making sure the right to disconnect not only exists on paper but is effectively embedded as part of your corporate culture. After all, they are the people who are able to translate corporate-level arrangements to your people on the shop floor. Admittedly, this process starts with concrete guidelines, but what comes after is every bit as important: by setting a good example yourself and by monitoring compliance with what has been agreed.

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Written by Miet Vanhegen

Juridisch adviseur

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