Workers feeling increasing pressure to respond to work messages outside of working hours

Stressed worker
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Nearly three in five (58%) workers feel obligated to respond to work messages outside of working hours, despite a similar number (59%) of business executives and bosses saying that they do not expect responses from employees, new research claims.

The study of 800 employees and 200 business executives from Clarify Capital comes hot on the heels of proposed legislation in California designed to reassert work-life boundaries, known as the ‘right to disconnect’ bill.

An increasingly digitalized workplace combined with a more spread-out workforce, thanks to the introduction of hybrid working following the pandemic, is to blame for the breakdown of boundaries.

Workers agree with the ‘right to disconnect’ bill

The statistics reveal a promising trend, with more than four in five (83%) workers expressing their support for the proposed legislation. While the support from business execs is slightly lower (75%), the consensus on the necessity to disconnect from work outside of contracted hours is clear.

On average, two in five workers were found to be available to respond to messages for at least nine hours per day, and employees of smaller companies (defined as having 10-49 workers) felt most obligated (67%) to respond to untimely messages.

Despite the call for greater flexibility by workers, hybrid and remote employees were found to be the most prepared to pick up messages, indicating that there are pros and cons to having greater flexibility.

Furthermore, as many as one in three business executives expect their employees to pick up messages outside of working hours, and nearly twice as many (14% vs 8%) are likely to oppose the bill.

As the debate surrounding the ‘right to disconnect’ bill continues, the disparity between workers and companies is becoming increasingly obvious, and the world continues to watch on with the proposed legislation likely to have a strong influence over other states and nations.

More from TechRadar Pro

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!