Staff working out of hours could be violating GDPR

UK workers struggling to switch off outside of working hours could be breaching GDPR rules, according to Insurance2go

Its research revealed that a third (35%) continue to answer work emails or conduct work tasks on their personal mobile phones when they get home from work. A quarter (25%) do the same during their lunch break, and more than one in five (23%) work on their personal handsets on their commute.

Although 14 million people in the UK use a second mobile phone for work, 18% prefer to use their own device in meetings and on work trips because they think it’s better than their work device, and 14% like to stick to their own devices for ease or familiarity.

Using personal devices can pose potential legal risks as many employees are unaware of GDPR legislation, Insurance2go warned. Forty-six per cent of employees confessed they were not aware of these laws while they were answering work emails or conducting work tasks on their personal mobile phones.

Data protection laws mean that businesses need to ensure data stored on employees’ mobile phones is as secure as the information held on their own databases and servers, the firm advised.

Employees in the emergency services sector are struggling the most to disconnect and are potentially breaching new GDPR regulations when they leave work, with 60% working on their personal devices when they get home.

Using a personal device for work outside the office may also damage employees’ finances. Sixty-one per cent of those polled said that working on their own phone affects their data usage charges, which they aren’t able to claim back from their employers.

In France, employees have been given the legal right to ignore work emails outside of working hours, with companies of more than 50 workers providing a charter of good conduct setting out times when staff are not supposed to answer emails. When asked if the UK should follow suit, 65% of employees surveyed by Insurance2go were in favour.

Gary Beeston, sales and marketing director at Insurance2go, said that finding a work/life balance is important to both wellbeing and ensuring employees are GDPR-compliant. “Many of us feel the pressure to work while we’re away from the office. But finding a balance is very important; not only for the benefit of our own wellbeing but for laws such as the new GDPR regulations," he said.

“It’s not only data protection laws that need to be taken into consideration. Taking your personal devices away on work trips for business use is not always covered by insurance policies," he added.