Right To Disconnect
The beginning of 2017 saw France pass a new law, “right to disconnect”, a law that means workers have no obligation to interact with work related emails outside of office hours. With so many of us owning smartphones I’m sure I’m not alone in replying to that email at 10pm or just having a quick look as soon as you wake up to see who else has been checking overnight and sending those night owl replies. Studies have found that those who check their email on average of three times a day were less stressed, and those who were expected to answer work emails out of hours had increased levels of stress.
Where this sounds like a law in favour of workers, I think that it also favours employers too. Surely a less stressed workforce is a happier workforce. One that works more productively and is less likely to have time of sick or want to work somewhere else.
It’s not just work emails we should disconnect from, we spend far too much time glued to our devices; I know I certainly do. I think the research mention above could also be applied to personal emails and social media. I’m guilty of constant connection and mindless scrolling.
Before Christmas I felt anxious, like I was wound too tight and always switched on - ready to go. It was as though I was ever alert for the moment that notification pops up or that fear of missing out if you don’t check social media every hour. I hadn’t even noticed how much I was engaged with my phone, I think I’ve gradually started using it more and more since I started living alone back in August.
It makes sense that spending more time on my own would make me reach to my phone as a way of connecting to my friends and family, especially as so many of them live so far away. However I slowly started scrolling Instagram and Twitter more and more missing the plot of TV shows because I was double screening.
I’m a restless sleeper as it is, and that constant switched on feeling was becoming irritating. I was beginning to get stress and grumpy from lack of sleep and an active mind. This habit of bad sleep is one I’m desperate to change. So as a new year’s resolution I promised myself I would be more mindful of how connected I am. I've made a personal 'right to disconnect' rule, for my own wellbeing. I'm going to spend less time connected to social media and focus more on using my evenings to unwind which will hopefully promote better sleep.
More on this to come...