A survey has found that one in four employers are looking to introduce ‘right to disconnect’ policies to support staff in keeping their home and work lives separate.

This can range from ignoring out-of-hour phone calls to banning the sending of emails after a certain hour.

A poll of 500 UK businesses has found that 27 per cent were considering implementing these measures. As many companies introduce the hybrid working model, 32 per cent have also revealed that they are developing new HR policies to ensure employees stay engaged whilst working from the office, at home or a mixture of both.

Notably, a ban to out-of-hours emails has increased across the UK and elsewhere. France has recently introduced a law to require employers to set specific hours for staff working from home, to avoid any over-working.

Now, campaign groups are eager to emulate this law by calling for a right to disconnect to be included in the next Employment Bill that is expected later this year.

Not only this, but Ireland has recently established a code of practice, where employers send their employees pop-up notifications reminding them to stop replying to emails out-of-work hours.

What can employers do next?

Employers are encouraged to engage with their staff and understand their preferences on out-of-hours contact. Circumstances will differ depending on the individual’s work schedule.

However, it is important for employers to appreciate the need for balance between employees working flexibly beyond their hours and being aware of the need for a work-life balance.

It is also important for employers to focus on productivity, rather than hours. Some days employees may need to put in longer hours to complete a task, but this is offset by the days when they do not need the full eight-hour day.

Employers may benefit from stopping counting the hours an employee works and rather, encourage them to focus on the completion of certain tasks in hand.

Though, with prioritisation of completing tasks comes the need for taking breaks –  so it is crucial that employers and workers recognise this balance.

Encourage your employees to take a break from their desk, go on a walk or even work in a different part of the office.

A method that many employers have implemented is ‘break-out rooms’. Sometimes, team chatter and phones can be overwhelming, especially if workers are used to working from home. A healthy break away in a quiet room or a spare desk can make employees feel calmer and less stressed.

The recent poll found that more than 37 per cent of businesses are looking to explore a ‘work from anywhere’ policy, while more than two in five were considering implementing a four-day week.

As times have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, employee wellbeing and work-life balance is becoming more and more relevant to attracting and retaining staff.

As HR professionals, HR Caddy can continuously share best practice, advice and expertise. For more help or advice on related matters, please contact us today.