The increasing use of digital devices for work outside of the workplace comes from the desire to be contactable 24/7, with 44% of Australians completing work activities outside the traditional working hours. However, rather than enduring longer work hours to gain a competitive edge, the overuse of digital devices has been found to result in ‘digital burnout’, with many employees uncertain of when they can switch off.
This comes after a pair of studies conducted by the University of British Columbia and Colorado State University revealed that workers who only checked their email three times a day experienced less stress, and workers who were expected to answer work emails in non-work hours experienced increased stress.
As well as increased stress, digital burnout has been linked to sleeplessness and relationship problems at home, translating to decreasing organisational effectiveness in the workplace – nullifying the purpose of longer digital connectivity in the first place!
The French government has identified this issue as a major contributor to them falling behind other European countries for organisational performance in recent years. This has led to France introducing an employment law which requires organisations to guarantee employees a ‘right to disconnect’ from technology in non-work hours.
Actions that can be taken to disconnect include; cutting email connections during specific hours and weekends, and blocking emails that are sent to employees during holiday breaks. The objective of this law is to clearly define the borders between private and professional life and therefore reduce the burden of work and informational overload. It is expected that these employees will enjoy decreased stress and greater flexibility in balancing their personal and professional lives, and organisations will see the benefits in an increase in organisational effectiveness in their workplace.
As an Australian organisation, it will be interesting to follow the effectiveness of this law and observe whether it contributes to a change in digital burnout. If proven to be effective, it may be something that Australian companies can adopt in the future to achieve organisational effectiveness in a changing workplace landscape.
To find out how your organisation can prepare for the changing workplace and achieve organisational effectiveness, contact TMS Consulting today on (07) 3003 1473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.