Increases in home-working during the pandemic have led to a renewed focus on the impact of connectivity ‘overload’ on workers. An impact that Andrew Pakes, Research Director at Prospect, has vividly described as feeling less like working from home and “more like sleeping in the office”.
Villadsen (2017) has suggested that the phenomenon of over connection is rooted in unhealthy work cultures based on the ‘fantasmic’ assumption that increased connection and ICT use will result in higher levels of worker autonomy and competence. Authors studying connection have sought to analyse the implications of connectivity ‘overload’ for workers, and indeed, the potential costs to organisations (e.g., Hobsbawm, 2018). The dangers of hyperconnectivity for workers and organisations are said to include reduced job satisfaction, a lack of work-life balance, reduced productivity and higher turnover of workers. Some nations have already introduced right to disconnect legislation, although country-specific guidance and implementation strategies vary greatly.
This Digit Debates event brings together a panel of experts from law, academia, trade unionism and journalism to discuss the nature of the problem, the implications and whether a right to disconnect is the answer.