Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 | Last Update : 08:59 AM IST

‘Nein’ to five Disconnect

THE ASIAN AGE. | SEONA SHAJI
Published : Jan 15, 2019, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Jan 15, 2019, 12:00 am IST

In a mixed response, employees are both happy and practical about the proposal.

A file photograph used for representational  purposes only
 A file photograph used for representational purposes only

A new bill, still under scrutiny, might give employees the right to not answer calls or emails after work. Surprisingly, its feasibility in the Indian context has received a mixed response.

Relationships have fallen apart and families have migrated in search of  better tomorrows as work life in India gets worse day by day...

Giving us a ray of hope, a bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by NCP MP Supriya Sule — the Right to Disconnect Bill, which if passed, will give employees the right to not receive calls or respond to work-related messages and emails from their employers post office hours. It is aimed at reducing stress and easing tension for workers.

In a mixed response, employees are both happy and practical about the proposal. We find out more...

Joji Jacob, an employee at First Source, is more than thrilled about the idea, “One issue that most people in our country face in terms of work life is the fact that work spills into our personal life; leaving us with very little to no time to spend with the family. This can be a great way to tackle the problem, and create a balance. But I am very doubtful about how practical it is. Majority of the companies in our country are MNCs. Most people who take up jobs here are informed about the working hours and the need to be available at all times. The policies differ from company to company and a rule as such might not be very helpful.”

While we all agree that the bill proposes a much-needed change, we are also aware of the complications that such rules come brimming with in an Indian corporate scenario that is far from employee-friendly.

Harish BijoorHarish Bijoor

Elaborating on the same, Harish Bijoor, founder of a private-label consulting firm, says, “It is reasonably impractical due to the fact that a change as such cannot be implemented by law, by rule, by governance. It has to be implemented by voluntary acceptance. The business of not intruding into an employee’s life beyond working hours is a cultural issue. Businesses work 24*7. There could be emergencies and to say that the employee can completely cut themselves off after works hours, despite the content of the matter is fairly hard to accept.”

It is utopian in nature, yet not practical feel many! Are we painting a Great American Dream for ourselves?

Priya Chetty, managing partner at Multiversal Advisory, explains why a proposal as such might be hard to implement in our country. “It has been done in the West. If you look at distributed global work environment, it is very difficult to implement it in our country. Where it is easiest to implement is government offices which are typically nine to five. But in the private sector which has distributed work spaces, some in Africa, some in US, it becomes a little difficult. It is a good idea as it respects a person’s private time, and is very highly desirable but in terms of implementation and given our work environment, the execution and implementation of such a rule is going to be very difficult.”

Looking at the legal aspects, lawyer Pramila Nesargi feels, “It is not possible or practical to implement such a rule. Each company has different policies and in case of an emergency an employee should be available to respond and communicate if required. What can be done is, informing the employees in advance the need to be available at all times.”

Well, changes are complicated but is resisting them the right way to go about things when the need is as pressing?

Eldhose M Joy, an IT professional says, “The policy will only benefit the employees. Working post office hours not only takes a toll on our mental health but also leaves us with little or time for personal needs, be it for self care, to spend time with ones families or to pursue a hobby.”

Tags: supriya sule, right to disconnect bill