Presidents will not be allowed to call federal officials after normal business hours as of February 1. This is in Publication from Civil Service Minister Petra de Satter (in green) about the so-called “right to disconnect”. The government also wants to extend this scheme to the private sector. What is your opinion? Is this rule a good idea? Does the rule also apply in the private sector? Tonight we collect the most amazing reactions in a new piece. Read below what our experts and some politicians think.
Petra de Suter, Minister of Civil Service (Green):
“For federal officials, the right to go offline outside working hours is now enshrined in law. This will take effect from the beginning of February. This means that we will get rid of the mentality that you always have to give up everything in order to work,” answers Minister de Sutter . “Remote work has its advantages, but it also creates stress for some people by feeling that they must be constantly available. It is also important to be unreachable from time to time, especially after work hours.”
Stijn Baert, Labor Economist at Ghent University:
“Anyone who laughs at the importance of disconnecting to avoid burnout is not wise. Just like his boss who calls out of working hours if it is not urgent,” says labor economist Stijn Burt, “there is something to be said for this action.” However, I would first like to roll out the variables on an experimental scale. Then you know for sure what works.”
Johan Leibniz of ACV:
ACV is talking about an important step forward, although there is also skepticism. “In exceptional cases, the manager can still call you after office hours. But what is the exception? We would have liked to see that more specific. Now it depends on what your manager understands through this, which will undoubtedly lead to a discussion,” he says. Johan Leibniz of ACV General Services.
Tony Six of ACOD:
The socialist government union ACOD is less important. Federal Secretary Tony Six asserts: “In these trying times, the ‘right to disconnect’ is absolutely essential.” “We also hope it will inspire companies and other sectors to follow the same path.”
Frederic Ansel, business psychologist:
Commercial psychologist Frederic Ansell answers: “Little will change in practice.” “People today want fundamentally autonomy: the ability to decide for themselves where and when to work. This strict and patriarchal measure goes against the global development of hybrid work. It seems to me that it is primarily intended as a signal.”
Ansel thinks that extending the law to the private sector is a ridiculous idea. The government should not interfere with how companies regulate themselves internally. Good companies, of course, have been working on good work culture and business cleanliness for a long time, they don’t need a government law to set regulations.”
Lode Godderis, Professor of Occupational Medicine (KU Leuven):
According to Occupational Medicine Professor Lode Godderis, the De Sutter scale is a “good first step.” Godderis emphasizes that the application in practice is particularly important. “It is not clear that we are inaccessible at these times, because we have digital tools. This procedure is easy to circumvent if you know someone’s private number,” Goodris said on “De Morgen” on Radio 1.
“We have to give each other the needed rest when we’re not at work,” he says. “It is important to make agreements within a team regarding availability and access. But of course you have customers who also have questions and want to see them answered. How this will be arranged is also important. In the future, for example, we will have to think about what information and contacts we still share with clients.
Christoph Vanrollen, Professor of Labor Sociology at the Free University of Brussels:
“There is a consensus among scholars that a poor work-life balance is a recipe for early dropout or burnout. This should be avoided. But keep in mind that some people value their ability to email occasionally after work hours. They see this as a way to achieve work-life balance. Private. If you make a general rule for everyone, it means that you shouldn’t send mail at 9:00 pm, after you’ve finally put your kids to bed. It may actually cause more stress for some,” says Professor of Professional Sociology Christophe vanroline;
We should strive to find a way to disconnect without denying people the opportunity to continue doing something for their work if they want to. So it’s important to go back to the organization, but I think leadership education is more important. Awareness and training of managers, as well as of course the employees themselves. Because especially those who are young or who are just starting to work somewhere, tend to respond to every sigh of their boss. “It is the responsibility of the manager to make sure that there are no compulsions and that the work day is well defined,” Vanrollen says.
Geert Bourgeois, Member of the European Parliament:
European Parliament Member Geert Bourgeois believes that the rule does not fit the current spirit of the times. According to him, it is not good to apply the rule in the private sector. Bourgeois answers: “The directorate’s de Croix government also wants to introduce this into the private sector, thus demonstrating that it is completely separate from society and has more autonomy, also with regard to working hours and responsibility.”
Matthias Dibendaele, Flemish Minister of Finance and Budget (N-VA):
“It is clear that good agreements are needed,” says Minister Matthias Dependael. But my experience has taught me highly motivated civil servants who want to fully commit to their social role. These rules confirm the cliches.”
And now it’s up to you. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below this article. We’re putting together the most amazing reactions in a new piece tonight.
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