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Management emails to agents outside work hours should be banned - call

A trade union is demanding that the government ban emails from all employers outside office hours - and it wants emails defying the ban to be automatically deleted.

Prospect - a trade union chiefly representing managers, engineers, scientists and cicil servants - has told the BBC that it wants the government to give employees a legally binding “right to disconnect” and switch off outside work hours.

"While digital technology has kept us safe during the pandemic, for millions of people, working from home has felt more like sleeping in the office, making it harder to fully switch off" Prospect's deputy general secretary, Andrew Pakes, has told the corporation.

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The union says such a ban would prohibit employers "routinely emailing or calling" outside set working hours, with emails sent outside agreed hours being automatically deleted to deter off-duty staff from continually checking their inbox.

The Office for National Statistics says that some 25.9 per cent of the working population worked from home for part of 2020, and current government advice across the UK remains for people to work at home wherever possible.

Some UK mental health consultants have suggested employers contact their remote-working staff regularly, in some cases even daily; however, the French government has since 2017 made it mandatory for employers to agree set hours for teleworkers who are entitled to privacy outside the agreed limits.

Earlier this year the business consultancy Deloitte UK - which has itself already announced the closure of four of its 50 offices in this country as a result of increased remote working - forecast that “Business leaders believe the pandemic will permanently change the business landscape. Chief Financial Officers anticipate a five-fold increase in home working relative to pre-pandemic levels by 2025.”

And just this week there NatWest banking group said only 13 per cent of its staff would work permanently from offices in future, with 55 per cent combining office-and-home, and 32 per cent working predominantly from home.

There has been no industry-wide survey conducted of how agency staff will work in future.

  • Simon Shinerock

    Trade Unions are biased, their approach is combative and unbalanced. Working from home offers many an opportunity for a better work life balance, meaning an individual can choose for work to be spread throughout the day. This freedom has to itself be balanced by accepting work calls and emails outside normal hours, you can’t have one without the other. The key is it is in the employees hands as to when they look at, respond to and take calls, it’s in the employers hands as to what targets and KPI’s they have to reach

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    The Uk has a culture of fear where everyone thinks they have to be seen to be totally committed all day every day to a f ing job.

    I do not message any of my staff outside working hours.

    When I worked for someone else I turned my phone off at the end of the day and weekends. A job is just a job what is more important is family and friends.

    Funny enough one of my own sales was in a chain with one of Simons offices and getting a response from then during working hours proved impossible much to the clients disgust LOL

  • Kieran Ryan

    So we all now have to offer a 9-5 property managment service???? These people need to get a life???

  • Rob Bryer

    I offer my staff total flexibility but this does come at a price if they do not manage their own time. I train them to have time off, stop checking their emails when they are taking down time and if I need them I would generally send a text to call when convenient. It is a learning curve for those that have adopted the new way of working. Simple solution for an employee is a work phone number and work email. When your not working don't check or answer them! An auto delete function is laughable and completely unworkable!

  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Banning emails from employers - could be seen as 1984 - and Eric Blair's dystopian take on a future world, but others emailing out of work hours, such as lucarative sales opportunities etc - is that also to be vetoed? Luckily or unluckily working for two companies I own, so still an employee - but with no union - I work as many do seven days a week and dawn to late at night, but that is a life choice. On the flipside I can totally see if you are on an hourly rate, then even working from home, or in an office or similar - personal hours and work hours need to be kept separate to a degree.

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