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HRM Assignment: Importance Of Right To Disconnect From Work

Question

Task:
December 2020 saw the launch of the Workplace Relations Commission public consultation on drafting a “Right to Disconnect” code of practice. A key element of the Government’s ‘Making Remote Work’ strategy, the code aims to provide best practice advice and guidance on approaches to employee disengagement outside normal working hours.

You are required to prepare HRM assignment presenting a written submission to the Workplace Relations Commission for inclusion in the code of practice, justifying why you believe employees should have the ‘right to disconnect’ when working remotely.

Answer

Introduction
According to the research on HRM assignment, the workplace relations commission was launched on December 18, 2020 by the public consultation on drafting a “Right to Disconnect” code of practice. This is the practice that is brought into action by the esteemed committee which will disconnect the employers and the employees on the physical front (Hesselberth, 2018). The European Union voted in the favour of the decision called “Right to Disconnect” at the time when nothing was clear on the professional or the personal point of view due to the ongoing pandemic situation prevailing all over the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire way of even leading a life, and in such a kind of situation, it is equally important to protect ourselves and also to working order to survive. This brings up the rule of working from home for the various employees and the employers (Saltiel, 2020). However, the European Commission made rules for the workers that workers will work from home for a fixed period because working from home does not mean that they will be available at any time for the employer because this will affect the work-home life which will not only bring out the instability in their lives but also the various kinds of physical and mental health issues. Many of them were in the favour of the decision, but many of them were also against the same.

Right to disconnect code of practice
The people who were not in the favour started trolling and showing their anger in some or the other way on various social media platforms in order to show that how their home life is getting spoiled due to this all-new system that has been started. They had an issue that due to this work from home rule, the employers always had an intuition that the work is always by their side and they are not feeling distracted from the office work (Secunda, 2019). At home also they are not feeling the rest and peace that they used to feel when this system was not there. The employers had a complaint that they didn’t feel a disconnection from the office and the home due to all this and one should stop this kind of system. This all created huge chaos among the two opposition parties in various countries. Let us take an example of Ireland, where one party was in the favour of the bill and another was against the same. The labour party was there which showed the bill of “Working from Home” in front of the majesty which was explaining the fact that it must be the right of the employee to decide if they wish to work or not. Basically, the labour bill was in the favour that employees should turn their pen down till the situation gets normal irrespective of losing their jobs. But similarly, on the other hand, there was an introduction of the bill by Sinn Fein which was the kind of Amendment in the Right to Disconnect bill stating the organization of the timing of the work. This amendment was introduced to specify the timings of the employees, i.e., the employees irrespective of sitting at home or at their comfortable places would be fixed with the time that at what time they will work or not (Jauréguiberry, 2018). This means that the employees will not do any kind of office-related work or send any kind of mails, messages, calls when they are not supposed to do so.

There comes as another complaint and issue related to the present passed bill, where there was an issue stating that after following this work from home rule, many of the employees are suffering from the bad effects of the same. They are facing an imbalance in their homework life and even facing many health-related issues such as fatigue, eye illness, tensions, etc. they feel more pressures while sitting at home and working and even experiencing lesser salaries and left unpaid for their work (Purwanto et al., 2020).Thereby there was an argument that the employees who are working from home must have at least this much of right that they should disconnect themselves from their office workload after the fixed time that has been issued to them without any kind of impedance from the employer.

Remote Work Strategy
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule on December 28, 2018, twittered regarding the introduction of the three bills in the Lok Sabha which was the “Tuberculosis (prevention and Eradication) Bill 2018, another was the Gender Sensitization (Training and Education) Bill 2018 and last but not the least was the Right to Disconnect 2018.It was basically related to the phone calls, the emails, the messages from the employers can be disconnected without any offense after the working hours (Rácz, 2018). The employees have full right to disconnect the calls or deny doing the task except for the working hours in order to maintain the work-life balance. But few netizens oppose the bill stating the fact that it is not the bill of disconnection from the work but due to this the employees are ignoring the work and should not be passed. The tele-callers are mostly facing the problem stated the fact that they need to check the mails, calls, messages on regular basis during the day whether it is the weekend or the government leaves. This is disturbing their work-life balance up to a great extent.

Inclusion of the code of practice by Workplace Relations Commission
The bill will be passed on the basis of following pre managed rules and regulations that are as follows.

  • On average, the bill will be applied to at least ten employees of the company that will form an alliance of the Employee Welfare Committee comprising of the employees of various departments such as the labour department, the communication department, and various other information technology department, etc.
  • The bill also says that if an employee work after the decided time by the organization and for the organization, then the company has to pay for the overtime that is being spent by the person (Dubey and Tripathi, 2020).
  • If the employee doesn’t pay attention to the phone calls, messages, emails from the employer related to the work, and then no action will be taken against him or her.
  • With all this, there must be counselling for the employees, the recreational centres and the various similar kind of things should be started in order to make the employees free from the stress of the daily work routine and which would not disconnect them from each other on the social front (Humphries et al., 2020).

The Challenges
In a country like India, many are against the implementation of the law, stating the reason that dealing with the working environment of our country is not viable and cannot standstill. Following are the reasons that are stated by the companies and the human resource department from various organizations.

  • A few of the human resource officials, states that the bill cannot be implemented in the country and will not be successful in the mere future, because the companies in the country like India has certain embankment due to which totally disconnection among the employee and the employer is not possible (Dhont et al., 2020).
  • If it is being excepted that the large firms and the strong IT firms, there also exist a small and marginal information technology firms, employees of which takes the work of the office to their homes in order to finish the task till the last date deadline, and the seniors are to maintain contact with their junior fellows even after the stipulated time given, so if the employee will not respond of the calls and messages then there will be a big chaos (Faulkner et al., 2020).
  • Moreover, let us take an example of a manufacturing and producing company. If any mishappening got happened in the industry at the odd time or late night. Then the employers need to contact their workers even at the odd time, and if the employees or the workers will completely disconnect themselves from the company then there will be a big problem (De Sousa et al., 2020).
  • Last but not least is that if the law gets passed, then during the implementation of the same, there will be a big challenge for both the employees and the employers.
  • Lastly, if the company is being connected to the outer international sources as well, then there will be a natural time difference cause and the employees need to contact and even work at odd times to get connected, and not responding them stating that reason that the work time in our country has finished will be a challenging task for the employees (Pandey and Pal, 2020).

Profession that cannot implement Right to Disconnect
Many of the professions are there which cannot take leave at any time and cannot totally disconnect themselves from the society or their work stating the fact that the profession or their work is the top priority irrespective of any prevailing condition in the country or the world (Marini, 2020).It can be stated that public transport facilities, the medical industries, law, cleanliness department, media industry, these are the industries which cannot distract or disconnect themselves from their work for any type of prevailing condition in the country.

According to doctors, they cannot follow the bill of Right to Disconnect because they say that their first priority is to serve and cure the patients irrespective of any bad or good condition (Timellini, 2020). They say that if they would disconnect themselves from their work, and in case of emergency, if they are not willing to serve or show their presence in order to save the life of the patient, then there is no use of their profession (LeBlanc, 2020). They themselves and the society will be pity on them, saying that due to their work-life balance, they did not even feel to save the life of the patient.

The same is the case of the media and the law related professions such as the police force.

In case of any robbery, rape, murder cases, if the police force or the police department disconnect themselves from the society stating that they cannot be available for the society or the people because this is not their time of duty and will not pick up the call in these cases, then what is the use of the police force. The police force is always there to serve the public and to solve their problems. So, this bill also cannot be implemented on the police force.

Last but not least comes the case of the defence force. The defence force is also the exception that cannot follow the bill of Right to Disconnect because if they are to perform the duty for the protection and safeguarding of the country (He et al., 2020). If they would disconnect themselves from the organization and in case of emergency if there comes a command of immediate action that needs to be taken against any terrorist activity or any other, then there will be a huge problem for the defence security organization. So, this is how the defence force also cannot follow the bill of disconnection.

The media industry is also one of a few industries that cannot disconnect themselves from society in any situation prevailing in the country or the world. In order to provide the information, whether the national news or the international news, it is the prime duty of the media industry to deliver the same to the people of the country (Collins, 2020). If the media industry or the media employees fails to deliver the news or start disconnecting them from society then there is no use for them or their profession. In any case and at any time the media personnel need to be available on the spot, at any time. With this, the media personnel are opposing the bill of right to disconnect. After all, they say they would not be able to follow the rules and regulations that have been provided in the bill because their work is the kind of work or their profession is of that type in which total disconnection will not be viable and they cannot distract themselves from their work.

So, above mentioned were the so-called drawbacks or the fields where the law of “Right to Disconnect” cannot be implemented.

Need of right to disconnect when working remotely
There are several industries or companies are there all over the world that has already implemented the policies and the rule of disconnection from the work in their companies. The companies like Volkswagen, the company of German, have already adopted the policy that they will not be accepting any emails, messages, calls from anybody related to any kind of issue after their working hours. They will deliver and accept the same in their working hours only whether from the national or the international level (Bucher, 2020).Another is the case of the public sector banks they are also following the right to disconnect policy. They also work on the eight hours working routine across the world and deliver and accept the calls, messages, and emails on the fixed time only. Though their services are active 24x7, the employees are off on their duty after the fixed time that has been provided to them.

In the countries like Japan, where there is no fixed time schedule for work and the people of Japan usually sleep for just 3 to 4 hours and take rest for just 15 to 20 minutes for the whole day and spend rest of the time just doing their work. The company resided in Japan, also has a demand that there must be a rule for disconnection for the workers so that they should also get time to introspect themselves and live their life by maintaining the work-life balance in their life (Park et al., 2020). This will not only affect their health positively but also improve their overall social and personal status.

Those who have already implemented the rule in their company find out the result that this has not only reduced the stress level of their employees but also improved the health conditions of their employees. The company finds out that with the advent of the right to disconnect policy in their offices, the company has found out an increase in the productivity level of their employees. They are doing their task more efficiently and effectively (Brient, 2020). A country like Sweden has reduced the work time from eight hours to six hours for their workers in order to provide them with lesser stress of work and more recreation time in their lives.

Conclusion
So, implementing the “Right to Disconnect” rule will be beneficial for all of the employees and the employers all over the world and even for all kinds of workers. Accepting the fact that some are the fields where this law cannot be implemented such as in case of emergency services but if we exclude them, this law is benefitting all and the workers are also equally happy with the same kind of law. Experiencing the fact that many are the employees and the companies nowadays are working on the basis of project-based assignments with the various kinds of terms and conditions, so to connect or disconnect has been even kept in abeyance till yet for many over the world.

References
Brient, T., 2020. Blended Roster Project under way!. Police Association (Victoria) Journal, 93(4), p.17.

Bucher, T., 2020. Nothing to disconnect from? Being singular plural in an age of machine learning. Media, Culture & Society, 42(4), pp.610-617.

Collins, H., 2020. Justice at Work. Revista Forumul Judecatorilor, p.59.

De Sousa, A., Mohandas, E. and Javed, A., 2020. Psychological interventions during COVID-19: challenges for low and middle income countries. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 51, p.102128.

Dhont, S., Derom, E., Van Braeckel, E., Depuydt, P. and Lambrecht, B.N., 2020. The pathophysiology of ‘happy’hypoxemia in COVID-19. Respiratory research, 21(1), pp.1-9.

Dubey, A.D. and Tripathi, S., 2020. Analysing the sentiments towards work-from-home experience during covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Innovation Management, 8(1), pp.13-19.

Faulkner, G., Rhodes, R.E., Vanderloo, L.M., Chulak-Bozer, T., O'Reilly, N., Ferguson, L. and Spence, J.C., 2020. Physical activity as a coping strategy for mental health due to the COVID-19 virus: a potential disconnect among Canadian adults?. Frontiers in Communication, 5, p.74.

He, S., Lai, D., Mott, S., Little, A., Grock, A., Haas, M.R. and Chan, T.M., 2020. Remote e-work and distance learning for academic medicine: best practices and opportunities for the future. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 12(3), pp.256-263.

Hesselberth, P., 2018. Discourses on disconnectivity and the right to disconnect. new media & society, 20(5), pp.1994-2010.

Humphries, N., McDermott, A.M., Creese, J., Matthews, A., Conway, E. and Byrne, J.P., 2020.

Hospital doctors in Ireland and the struggle for work–life balance. European journal of public health, 30(Supplement_4), pp.iv32-iv35.

Jauréguiberry, F., 2018. Communication technologies, time pressure and the right to disconnect. Revue de l'infirmiere, 67(244), pp.32-34.

LeBlanc, S.S., 2020. Disconnect-Connect: 31 minutes of September 20, 2018. Journal of Autoethnography, 1(3), pp.274-283.

Marini, J.J., 2020. Dealing with the CARDS of COVID-19. Critical care medicine, 48(8), pp.1239-1241.

Pandey, N. and Pal, A., 2020. Impact of digital surge during Covid-19 pandemic: A viewpoint on research and practice. International Journal of Information Management, 55, p.102171.

Park, Y., Liu, Y. and Headrick, L., 2020. When work is wanted after hours: Testing weekly stress of information communication technology demands using boundary theory. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 41(6), pp.518-534.

Purwanto, A., Asbari, M., Fahlevi, M., Mufid, A., Agistiawati, E., Cahyono, Y. and Suryani, P., 2020. Impact of Work From Home (WFH) on Indonesian Teachers Performance During the Covid-19 Pandemic: An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology, 29(5), pp.6235-6244.

Rácz, I., 2018. Right to disconnect: Jog a kikapcsol (ód) áshoz. Pro Futuro, 8(4), pp.50-66.

Saltiel, F., 2020. Who can work from home in developing countries. Covid Economics, 7(2020), pp.104-118.

Secunda, P.M., 2019. The employee right to disconnect. Notre Dame J. Int'l Comp. L., 9, p.1.

Timellini, C., 2020. Disconnection: A Right in a Phase of Progressive Definition. In News Forms of Employment (pp. 119-136). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

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