Understanding the Right to Disconnect: What HR Leaders Need to Know

Written by
Ryan McGrory
August 4, 2022

In today's hyper-connected world, the boundary between work and personal life has become increasingly blurred. With emails, messages, and notifications constantly vying for our attention, many employees find it challenging to switch off from work, even after office hours. Recognising the detrimental impact this can have on employee wellbeing and productivity, the concept of the "Right to Disconnect" has gained traction worldwide, including in Australia. In this blog, we'll explore what the Right to Disconnect entails, why it's important, and what HR leaders need to know to support their employees effectively.

What is the Right to Disconnect?

The Right to Disconnect refers to the ability of employees to disconnect from work-related communications and activities outside of their regular working hours. It aims to protect employees' wellbeing, mental health, and work-life balance by ensuring they have time to rest, recharge, and engage in personal activities without the intrusion of work-related demands.

Why is it Important?

The increasing prevalence of remote work and digital communication tools has made it easier for employees to remain connected to work around the clock. While this may seem convenient at first, it can lead to burnout, stress, and decreased job satisfaction. Research has shown that constant connectivity can disrupt sleep patterns, increase stress levels, and negatively impact mental health. By implementing the Right to Disconnect, organisations can promote a healthier work-life balance, improve employee morale, and enhance overall wellbeing.

Key Considerations for HR Leaders:

Establish Clear Policies: HR leaders should work with management to develop clear policies and guidelines regarding after-hours communication expectations. These policies should outline when employees are expected to be available and when they are free to disconnect from work-related communications.

Lead by Example: HR leaders and managers should lead by example by respecting employees' right to disconnect and refraining from sending non-urgent emails or messages outside of working hours. Encourage a culture where employees feel comfortable setting boundaries around their availability.

Provide Training and Support: Offer training and support to employees on effective time management, boundary-setting, and stress management techniques. Provide resources and tools to help employees prioritise tasks, manage workloads, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Foster a Culture of Flexibility: Embrace flexible work arrangements that allow employees to manage their schedules and workload in a way that suits their individual needs and preferences. Encourage open communication and collaboration to ensure that employees feel supported in balancing their work and personal responsibilities.

The Right to Disconnect is an essential aspect of modern workplace culture, especially in the era of remote work and digital communication. By prioritising employee wellbeing and promoting a healthy work-life balance, HR leaders can create a more supportive and productive work environment for their teams.

For more information on the Right to Disconnect, please visit: