Teleworking has become the norm with the Covid-19, what about the “right to disconnect”?

Telecommuting has become the norm for many sectors since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the right to disconnect has not followed this trend.

Here, an employee and her cat in Sassenheim, the Netherlands on October 2, 2020. REUTERS / Eva Plevier

Text by: Dominique Desaunay Follow

7 mins

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the border between professional and personal life has narrowed for many, as teleworking has become the norm.

And if “ 


 ” is back at the center of discussions, the authorities and companies are struggling to sanctify this right, creating real time bombs for the health of workers.


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The subject of the " 

right to disconnect

 " has returned to

the fore on the

side of the EU Parliament, which calls on the European Commission to legislate on the " 

right to disconnect


This has been considered since 2017 in Europe and in

France as a “

fundamental right

” for employees


But the Covid-19 pandemic has happened there:



" in the professional context have already become real time


for the health of teleworkers, notes Marianne Lecot,

lawyer specializing in labor law and law social


The right to disconnect is the right for an employee not to be contacted by his employer outside of his working hours, whether during his holidays or during his rest periods.

But in the current period, we are witnessing an "over-solicitation" through technological means and we see situations of suffering at work, with employees who are no longer able to distinguish between things, more in the evening to cut the connections, and continue to work later and later on their screens which keep them awake.

And indeed, the consequences can be very serious for health, for privacy sometimes compromised and also from a financial point of view by force of circumstances.

For lawyer Marianne Lecot, "over-solicitation by technological means can have consequences that can be very serious for health"

Dominique desaunay

Companies for more "




Aware of the psychosocial risks, some companies have decided to initiate discussions with their employees to set up

more bearable teleworking


This does not mean the end of morning-to-night videoconferencing meetings, unwanted emails or incessant business calls 7 days a week, which can be

harmful to the health of teleworkers

and counterproductive for companies.

Instead, the time for tailor-made telecommuting would have come.

What Christophe Platet recommends, head

of the management consulting firm Lundano


I strongly believe in the balance of 1 to 2 days of telecommuting.

In my opinion, most of the time should be spent in business.

One of the criticisms made about teleworking is that it has brought an additional burden for a fairly large majority of people in the company and that its regulation is not obvious.

On this reserve, however, I think that there may be an interest in setting up 1 day of teleworking in Île-de-France to save travel times which our studies place at around 7%.

This is very significant, with millions of km of personal vehicles being gained, it is an aspect of telework that is very positive.

But again, to be developed in companies in a very balanced way.

Christophe Platet, director of the management consulting firm Lundano, campaigns for 1 or 2 days of teleworking per employee

Dominique desaunay

The government wants more telework ... but refuses to include it in the Code

On the government side, the Ministry of Labor has sent employers and unions

a new


health protocol

aimed at increasing the use of telework.

This document invites companies to “reduce as much as possible the time spent on site” of their employees.

However, the executive refuses to include the measure in the Labor Code, which leaves it

no way to force companies

to apply the text.

The same problem concerns the application of the right to disconnect, which must be the subject of an agreement between employer and employees.

If it is being invented day by day in companies, the post-Covid-19 world of teleworking still has a long way to go before it becomes a tangible reality.

 Also to listen: 

Telework: "The" relaxation "is not limited to certain sectors"


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  • France

  • Employment and Work

  • Coronavirus

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