Man relaxing in the hammock.

The Right to Disconnect

Team Building By Mar 21, 2024 No Comments

It’s late. My wife is single-handedly managing dinner and cleanup, very much unlike our usual team effort, because I am stuck, glued to my screen, attending a work meeting that began at 6 pm and has stretched well beyond its scheduled hour.

As I finally log off, my bowl of food sits on the table. I sit down and finally get to speak with my wife; I apologise for not being able to help, “it’s not an all-the-time thing”, but it increasingly is. My evening has slipped away, something I’m never getting back, and I’m not getting paid for. We finally sit down to watch some TV and unwind, we talk about our day, but suddenly, we’re interrupted.


Ring Ring.

A colleague is calling me at 9 pm. Further intrusion into my personal time hits hard that boundaries have been well and truly crossed. What could possibly be so important that it needs to be discussed at 9 pm?

Shocked african man receive message on cellphone, removing eyeglasses

Reclaiming Work-Life Balance in the Digital Age

Technology has blurred the lines between personal and professional life, and the concept of the “right to disconnect” has emerged as an important discussion point. As an individual who has experienced the exhausting effects of an “always-on” work culture, I can attest to the importance of setting boundaries and reclaiming personal time.

My experience is not unique. Countless employees face the pressure to be constantly available, leading to increased stress, burnout, and diminished productivity. Recognizing this issue, the Australian Government has taken a significant step by introducing the “Right to Disconnect” provisions in the Closing Loopholes Act 2023. This legislation empowers employees to ignore non-urgent work-related communications outside their contracted hours without fear of repercussions.


The right to disconnect offers numerous benefits for both employees and employers. For workers, it promotes a healthier work-life balance, reduces stress, and allows for uninterrupted personal time. It enables individuals to focus on their relationships, hobbies, and overall well-being. For organisations, it fosters a culture of respect, trust, and productivity, as employees are more likely to be engaged and motivated when their personal time is valued.

Critics argue that the right to disconnect may hinder productivity and flexibility. However, research in various fields, including medicine, psychology, and business, highlights the detrimental effects of constant connectivity on cognitive function, mental health, and overall performance. Legal and regulatory frameworks in countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Germany have already begun to address this issue, emphasising the importance of work-life balance and employee well-being in the digital age.

The Way Forward

Implementing the right to disconnect requires a shift in mindset and a commitment from both employers and employees. It demands clear communication, realistic expectations, and a focus on results rather than constant availability. By embracing this concept, we can create a more sustainable and humane work environment that values individuals’ well-being and organisations’ long-term success.

The right to disconnect is a fundamental human need in the digital age. It is a call to reclaim our personal time, to prioritise our mental health, and to foster a work culture that respects the boundaries between professional and personal life.

Let’s remember that the ability to disconnect is not a luxury, but a necessity for our well-being and the well-being of those around us.

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