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After Hours Availability and the Right to Disconnect: An exploratory study into the effect of after-hours availability and the significance of protective legislation for the right to disconnect

Gallagher, Emma (2020) After Hours Availability and the Right to Disconnect: An exploratory study into the effect of after-hours availability and the significance of protective legislation for the right to disconnect. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Objectives:
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of after-hours availability and ‘always on’ cultures and to investigate protective legislation of the right to disconnect to improve work-life balance for workers. Significant research has been undertaken in the area of work-life balance and the right to disconnect but there was a lack of research in an Irish context. The effect of remote working and boundary control was also examined in the study. Remote working and after-hours availability became particularly relevant as the Covid-19 crisis occurred in the course of the research.

Method:
This study was mixed method using quantitative and qualitative research methods. The quantitative research included a 35-question survey was issued to 111 participants examining four areas: after hours availability as an organisational norm, the effect of availability, remote working, and the right to disconnect. Data collected was analysed using SPSS software. The qualitative research involved interviews with four participants with different perspectives on the right to disconnect. Thematic analysis was carried out on the transcribed interviews.

Results:
Variables related to the four areas examined in the questionnaires were tested for normality. The results showed that the four variables were positively skewed. Four themes were identified from the qualitative research. These themes were the obligation of workers, the role of employers, the blanket approach, and the impact of technology.

Conclusion:
The quantitative analysis supported that after-hours availability is an organisational norm and has a negative effect on workers. It also indicated that there is support among workers for protective legislation for the right to disconnect. The qualitative research indicated that protective legislation should be introduced to protect vulnerable workers but should allow for companies to create policies alongside workers. Further research is recommended into the effect of the abrupt introduction of remote working because of Covid-19.

Keywords: After-hours availability, right to disconnect, working hours, ‘always-on’ culture, protective legislation, remote working, work-life balance

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Employment Rights
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Quality of Work Life / Job Satisfaction
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Dan English
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2021 14:40
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2021 14:40
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/4595

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