· News

Work notifications ruining family time for younger workers

Work alerts and/or notifications cause the same amount of anxiety as spiders and bugs

Increased work notifications are disrupting employees' time with loved ones, according to technology company RingCentral.

A quarter of British workers experience anxiety (23%) when they receive a notification, rising to 27% for younger workers.

Work alerts and/or notifications cause the same amount of anxiety as spiders and bugs (54%) and almost as much as going to the dentist (59%).

Steve Rafferty, VP international at RingCentral, said: “Work and life boundaries are blurred more than ever before. Communication and collaboration tools have flooded the workplace, which is heightening negative feelings of anxiety, annoyance and stress. This is taking its toll on workers, who are unable to disconnect.”

Read more: Is an out of hours ban a step back in time?

Belgium, France and Portugal have recently implemented right to disconnect laws to reduce workplace fatigue and anxiety.

These policies give employees permission to disengage from work outside of their normal working hours, meaning once workers are off the clock they will not receive or be required to answer any work-related calls, emails or messages.

The UK’s working time directive stipulates that employees are not legally allowed to work more than 48 hours a week on average – normally averaged over 17 weeks – and the right would mean workers can’t be contacted outside of those hours, or their agreed contracted working hours.

According to separate research from Icompario, 66% of workers would be in favour of implementing a right to disconnect in the UK.

However, 36% of UK CEOs would vote against this.

Of those that experience increased work notifications, half (49%) stated they feel like they’re always at work even when they’re off the clock.

Over half of employees (52%) use six or more apps in a typical work week.

Rafferty said employers should update their out of hours communication policies to allow employees to get proper Christmas rest over the break.

He said: “As we approach the holiday period and new year, if businesses want to succeed at solving the productivity puzzle, they must take a proactive approach in adopting tools that consolidates cross team communication efforts, alongside, adapting their culture and updating their working policies to support employee wellbeing.”

Read more: How can HR support employees' right to switch off?

Ipsos surveyed 1,500 UK workers aged 21-65 from 18 July to 1 August 2023.