Most tech workers would ignore a call from their boss outside work hours

In this age of instant communication, there is pressure on employees to be "switched on" all hours of the day. But do we really have the mental attitude to totally disconnect from work?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

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If you live and work France, you can forget work after 6pm.

In a series of measures designed to protect employees from dreaded after-work calls or emails, France's government passed a new law last year establishing workers' the "right to disconnect" when they leave the office, as well as ensuring they are fairly paid for the work that they do.

In Brazil, workers can ask for overtime if they have to answer emails outside of working hours.

But do other countries in the world have a relentless work ethic that keeps them tied to the office, or are they happy to let their workers enjoy their lesiure time?

A new study by UK-based HandsetExpert has revealed that almost two out of three tech workers would ignore an out-of-hours call from the boss. It surveyed 1,850 mobile device users in the UK to find out how we deal with the pressures of being an "always-on" society.

This number might be the roll-up of various reasons -- from being on the toilet, in the bath, or in other compromising situations.

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The survey showed different behaviours from different job roles. Healthcare professionals seem to be most connected to their place of work. They were the least likely to cancel any calls from their boss, with only 42.5 percent stating they would not pick up the call.

At the other end of the scale, real estate agents -- who already work some of the longest hours in the industry -- are least likely to respond. Almost three out of four workers (72.6 percent) in that industry sector would not respond to calls from their boss.

We do seem to have a relentless work ethic, but expectations of around-the-clock availability from employers can result in employee dissatisfaction and low morale.

HandsetExpert founder Shahrum Gilani said, "Employers must take note of the fine line that separates an employee's work and personal time and discuss what will and won't work with staff from the outset.

Gilani added: "If employees feel cared for and respected, this will likely reflect in the quality of their work and willingness to pick up an out-of-hours call here and there if they believe it is important."

Perhaps managers should stop to think before sending that late-night message, and workers should stop surrendering to the pressure or requirement to answer and enjoy their limited time off.

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