Over 80% of Spanish workers answer calls or emails outside of working hours
In 2018, when the organic law for the protection of personal data and the guarantee of digital rights entered into force, 51% of Spanish workers answered calls or emails outside of working hours. Even with this regulation, which establishes that professionals are not obliged to answer WhatsApp, emails or calls beyond their working hours, the percentage of Spanish workers who indicate that they do not digitally disconnect has increased over time. over the past two years. The emergence of the pandemic and the introduction of teleworking have helped trigger the absence of digital disconnection in the workplace.
This is shown by the latest report on the digital disconnection from InfoJobs, which shows that 82% of Spanish workers answer calls or emails outside of working hours. In February 2020, before the arrival of the pandemic, this percentage was 63%, while in June 2020 it was close to 70%. However, since then the data has increased significantly.
The arrival of summer and the start of holidays should a priori help facilitate digital disconnection. However, data from this study indicates that 74% of Spanish workers also answer calls or emails while on vacation.
“The work circumstances derived from the pandemic have brought about a significant change in the work and family life of a large part of the workforce, influencing aspects as fundamental as the need to disconnect from work,” says Mnica Prez, Director of Communication for InfoJobs. “In this sense, the solution to the current problem does not only go through the revision of the existing regulations and the installation of new control mechanisms, but also by the promotion of a change of mentality within the companies.”
And, as the data from this study show, 6 out of 10 companies in Spain admit to taking no measures to promote the digital disconnection of their employees, beyond specific agreements with employees and managers. By sector, companies in the primary and secondary sector (75%) are those that take the least measures to promote digital disconnection
“I feel compelled to respond”
Regarding the reasons given by Spanish workers for answering emails and calls outside of working hours, almost 1 in 2 indicate that they do not log out because they feel obligated to answer, while 36% say their job requires it. These two reasons will be followed by the need to keep abreast of everything, with 20% of mentions. In addition, only 1 in 5 employees report not logging out for what, in principle, should be the most common reason: to finish outstanding issues that need to be resolved.
The greater the liability, the less the ability to disconnect
Data from the InfoJobs report also reflects that the higher the responsibility and level of work of professionals, the more often they are required to answer calls and emails outside of working hours. Thus, up to 93% of directors / managers in Spain say they practice this practice, while, in the case of middle managers, this percentage drops to 89%. Finally, with regard to specialists, the mentions reach 79%.
Regulation by agreement and paid gatekeepers, the most popular measures to remedy the lack of digital disconnection
Asked about the main solutions to the problem of digital disconnection, 40% of Spanish workers advocate the establishment of a work agreement that includes the right not to deal with mobile phones and mail outside working hours. This will be followed by the creation of a system of paid caretakers for vacations and weekends so that the rest of the professionals can rest (36%).
Here is the possibility of reaching a consensus with those responsible for disconnections on vacation (30%), the establishment of agreements with telephone operators to agree on hours of non-use of the messaging and mobile (15%) and the design of an alert system to warn the employee when he has made more than two connections after hours (13%).
In this sense, the youngest workers (16-34 years old) are those who most demand (45%) regulation by agreement or the creation of a paid guard system (37.5%).
Women, who most blame the lack of disconnection due to teleworking
Although the main reason for the lack of disconnection cited by Spanish workers is the use of their personal devices for work problems (58%), almost 6 in 10 (57%) indicate that the need to work from home in due to restrictions made digital disconnection difficult. Here, the difference between men and women stands out particularly. Thus, while 54% of them mention this point, in their case the mentions rise to 61%, becoming the main cause of the lack of disconnection.
Valencians and Andalusians, those who disconnect the least digitally from their work
By autonomous community, the workers of the Valencian Community and Andalusia are those who, in the greatest proportion, indicate having difficulties in digitally disconnecting from their work (87%), exceeding by five percentage points the average of the ‘Spain.
In contrast, Madrid residents are those who, to a greater extent (51%) say they feel pressured to answer calls or emails outside of working hours, followed by Basques (50%) . Likewise, professionals in the Community of Madrid are those who rely the most on regulation by labor agreement as the main measure to end the lack of digital disconnection (47%).