Right to disconnect
Muse #531 - but we mostly won't
Ontario passed a new law on July 1, Canada Day- the right to disconnect. I am guessing several European countries have passed such laws too and it is becoming a norm.
But this is a cultural and behavioral problem as much as a legal one. It is a generational change and it is going to take years if at all for change to be large-scale. Especially in the cognitive work-driven software industry in which I am, there is an inherent expectation of working beyond normal hours that has percolated in the industry.
The higher one is in the hierarchy it is a badge of honor to work later hours and over weekends competing with each other on what late hours at which they send out emails or do work.
It is a shame that intelligent and smart people are unable to use their intelligence and their smartness to address the one problem that will help them. How to use their hours wisely. On learning how to balance their work to get all the work that needs to be done in their day at work, and nothing but. And therefore those who aren’t learning are going to continue to perpetuate and expect such behaviors at their places of work.
But for me, I am blessed. My lack of energy and my limited intrinsic motivations mean that for several years I have learned to do all my work within the confines of my work hours. Using my obsessive tendencies as an advantage to do just that.
And when I am hard-pressed to exceed those limits I actively look for ways to reduce my workload, do a smart redesign of my work practices, and figure out shortcuts to get the minimal necessary work done to bring my work back to acceptable parameters of what I could cognitively handle. I focus on creating the necessary outcomes with the least amount of work required. And therefore, I have practiced the right to disconnect for a long-long time and I am also proud to teach this to those I work with.
But for most of you, my bet is that you just won’t disconnect. You just can’t do it. But do try!