Few things are more upsetting than a call from work to resolve a problem or question when you’re on vacation. Although vacations are a right established by law, the reality is that constant access to the internet and the omnipresence of mobile phones make it increasingly difficult to enjoy a full rest. According to a survey carried out by the InfoJobs employment portal, one in four people say they connect whenever necessary during their vacation periods and other studies suggest that almost 40% of workers need two weeks or more to forget about work. Anything goes when leaving work responsibilities behind: from switching to a phone that only allows you to make and receive calls, to temporarily deleting work apps or muting all notifications. However, none of this works if the other party does not also fulfill its part. Just as important as wanting to disconnect is that your bosses or your colleagues let you do it. In digital or hybrid environments in which the day is organized remotely, disconnection is much more complicated. Normally, employees have the feeling of being always connected. And it is not just a perception, since according to the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), people who regularly telework are more likely to exceed the maximum weekly hours. For this reason, some companies are increasingly committed to establishing protocols and tools that have a positive impact on labor management. One example is the company Fresh People, a Human Resources consultant for technology startups. For José Burgos, co-founder and CEO, it is essential to “create awareness in the team through training and understanding of the impact of not respecting vacations and people’s right to rest,” he explains. “We have studies that demonstrate with great solvency how important the time dedicated to the complete connection with work is as important as the rest time. Just as elite athletes who respect training, competition and rest times do as much as possible, we have to understand that something similar happens with people”. For this reason, Burgos invites companies to carry out planning work prior to the months in which everyone usually takes vacations. “You cannot be providing solutions to this issue at this time of the year, but rather this should have happened much earlier: how you work with the company culture, the structure of objectives, the jobs, the teams… All of this has an impact directly in the management of people. Without doing so, you are probably going to run into a lot more difficulties.” Along with digital work tools, another of the handicaps for not being able to disconnect or delegate during vacation periods is being in a job with some responsibility or in which one is one’s own boss. According to data from InfoJobs, the profile of those who disconnect the least is that of a man, between 45 and 65 years old, self-employed or self-employed and with a position of responsibility. In the case of the self-employed, in addition, a survey carried out in 2021 by the National Federation of Self-Employed Workers (ATA) revealed that 42% of them could not go on vacation in the summer and that 85% of those who did, could not. They stopped for more than 15 days. Claudia López, for example, who works as a freelancer at the head of a food safety company, does not know what it is like to completely disconnect. In her case, although she tries to warn her clients so that they try to respect her rest as much as possible, it is not always possible. “I think that if I worked for someone else, the disconnection would be total, but for a self-employed person it is very difficult. In the end, the computer and mobile phone always go with me, it’s like carrying work on my back, and I take advantage of different moments to do pending things, ”she recalls López. “On many occasions, I prefer it this way rather than hitting myself with an overload of work days before. I prefer to dose and alternate after work and rest days. What I do try, at least one week a year, is to ensure total disconnection time”. The same thing happens to Patricia Vicente, who works in public administration in a position of responsibility. “I can’t delegate my duties to other people, so there is always the possibility that I will have to solve something over the phone from my vacation spot. For this reason, what we do is organize ourselves to enjoy the holidays in the month of August, which is when there is less work volume and everything is calmer”, explains Vicente. In these cases, the ifeel psychologist, Rafael San Román, points out that it should be each person who values what it means to answer or not answer those calls. “Perhaps, for labor relations or the work environment, it may be worse not to answer a call at a specific time than to do so. Because if you don’t answer, on the way back you’re going to have to deal with it anyway. But it depends a lot on the situation and circumstances of each person and the position he holds”. However, San Román also indicates that, whenever possible, it is necessary to “become aware that it is essential to rest and disconnect in order to later perform well. Rest is an issue that we must take seriously and with discipline”. For companies, Héctor Mata, co-founder and CEO of Shakers —a platform that connects freelance workers with companies and that has organized several meetings on the future of work and the keys to achieving a work balance— adds that what is advisable to guarantee a break Optimum for everyone would be to “define a protocol of action before the person goes on vacation to determine what is urgent and what is not urgent and how to transfer those hot issues that we have in hand. Once these limits of what we consider important and what not are established, we must be prepared to know how to act before chaos is caused, and in the event that it is essential, contact the colleague who is on vacation so that he can act . Although this will be in a very extreme case. Few matters should be so urgent as to have to contact our partner. * Some of the names of the people who have participated in this article have been changed to preserve their privacy.
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– Article Written By @María Sánchez Sánchez from https://smoda.elpais.com/trabajo/cuando-el-jefe-no-respeta-el-derecho-a-desconectar/