Being disconnected from work gives employees freedom to do something they like outside their work schedule. A study by Jackie Coleman and John Coleman in The Upside of Downtime suggested that the idea of leaving work for a while has several advantages for employees and company. For the employees, time-off can improve productivity, creativity, and wellness as they can spend more time with beloved ones. As for the company, giving time-off for employees can increase loyalty, productivity, performance, and engagement which lead to greater revenue.
Coleman said that giving employees to take days, nights, or extended periods of time off can actually increase productivity. Short time-off can also be done in the office, as employees who make use of their lunch time for afternoon naps can restore focus and energy. This implies that being disconnected from work for a while can clearly benefit individuals to better see details and understand the purpose or priority of their tasks.
Another study by Oxford Economics also encouraged company to give flexibility for their employees to take time off. More than 60 percent respondents surveyed cited that time off improved their physical health, while 55 percent of employees claimed that it improved their mental health.
While giving employees time off could be a good move to increase wellness, a research by Drew Pearce which is based on 2018 Nielsen report and El Khomri Law (right to disconnect for employees) showed that time off is not always effective. Pearce’s research findings noted that after one year of implementation, some questions arose whether El Khomri law is too vague to be effective. In the end, time to disconnect law does not give much change for employees. Although employees get time to be on their own, technology like smartphones or emails that can reach us anywhere anytime are things that somehow cannot be ignored.
Interviewed by Pearce, Micha Sprinz claimed that people feel protected with the law as they have time to be on their own. However, it is not easy for those who work in international company with multiple time zones, or those who work in marketing communication. Another respondent, Boungnasith, added that there should be time preference for employees to leave and come back for their work as long as employees do not violent their responsibility as employees. “What makes it different if during time off, we are required to work overtime or are supposed to access emails after 6:00 pm,” he added.
This adds a conclusion that although time to disconnect for employees is good as it can improve their productivity and mindfulness, giving them advice like “use your time well for personal purposes more than work-related matters” will be more advantageous. Additionally, you can also give employees choice to choose their time off rather than setting fixed schedule for them.
“Real change might only come when companies prioritize employee experience as highly as customer experience and productivity. Then employees and companies might be able to build a new relationship with work that is less draining and more fulfilling”, wrote Pearce.