This really is a fundamental flaw in some of the laws that are on the books, and ones that are being drafted.
“The core issue is the potentially inherent incompatibility of flexible schedules and the right to log off in the first place. Eileen Schofield, a UK employee rights lawyer with Schofield and Associates, says most current European guidance around the right to disconnect is on establishing ‘normal’ working, hours but very few of us have worked a regular pattern of hours over the past year. “The challenge with applying a right to disconnect [in any country] just now is that employees are becoming accustomed to choosing different working hours every day,” she says. “The right to disconnect is likely to mean that this total flexibility will not be completely viable.””
Anything the government comes up with might protect workers from being required to work all the time, but the devil in the detail is how to allow workers to choose which hours they do work within that? It gets a bit messy, doesn’t it, and really isn’t that the issue with the government getting involved? It limits the possibilities by putting a defined “work” time, when what is really needed is the flexibility to figure out the best time, and location, that allows a worker to get what needs to be done, done, and still have a life that is outside of work. That’s going to look different for everyone, so there can’t be rules passed down from an outsider, there will need to be an understanding between workers, and management, on what works best for everyone, including when they will disconnect.
That does, of course, require some more effort and imagination. Are you up to it?