Remote work has completely changed the way we work and communicate. It’s given new thought to how teams and companies can remain in contact without having to be in an office.

In an annual survey, FlexJobs found that 58% of respondents were looking to remain remote full-time even after the pandemic. Some companies have come to adopt different models of work. Around 39% of them seeking to adopt a hybrid model that combines both work and office balance.

Today the concept of remote work has become almost commonplace. More employees transition into working from their homes and companies look to shift into a digital space.

But while the home office now gives employees more flexibility, freedom in scheduling, and the ability to adjust their routines to fit around their work-life – we’re seeing more remote employees working longer, and harder.

Implications of Remote Work

Surprisingly enough, remote employees will on the average clock in an additional four hours per 40-hour work week, that’s almost 10% more than their in-office peers.

During the earlier months of the pandemic, some employees stated they were working more than they were before the pandemic, with an alarming 75% claiming they tend to work over weekends.

Excessive work is causing more employees to burn out, even when they’re able to work from home. Longer hours in front of the computer, having to deal with endless work emails, and constantly being online to make sure the work gets done are pushing some adults to the brink – and it’s starting to get serious.

Better yet, overworking and toxic company culture are seeing an increase of employees, around 35%, sharing their employers’ company culture is now starting to deteriorate, and it’s becoming a bigger issue for those employees who work remotely.

While government legislation exists to curtail these occurrences, this mainly accounts for employees who are present within an office. More so, some companies will have a written policy that states working hours and conditions.

For those who enjoy working from home, laws and policies are still something we’re only now starting to see.

And while virtual work has already been around for quite some time, there wasn’t a push for government involvement. Assistance from federal law can help create a progressive agenda that could see new laws come into play. These can ensure that remote employees can log off, disconnect and take the rest they need.

The Right To Disconnect

Governments around the world have been working on new legislation that would ensure employees have the right to disconnect. This would mean, that employees can:

  • Not perform work or work-related activities after or outside of normal working hours.
  • Workers do not have to attend work-related activities and matters that are outside of their regular hours of work.
  • Employers should respect their workers’ right to disconnect.
  • A formal in-house policy should be enacted and shared among employees.
  • In special cases, workers are entitled to receive compensation over time.

The right to disconnect is a structure that allows employees to completely turn off from work.

The combination of personal and professional has made these things more difficult, as it’s now easier, and more convenient for employees and colleagues having to “quickly check up on work” after hours.

To help mitigate these activities, countries around the world have been working on legislation that would make it easier for employees to disconnect once the working day has ended.

Right to Disconnect Legislation in Effect

European Union

Back in 2016, France, Italy, and Spain were among the very first few countries to have introduced such legislation. These countries were able to create a forward-thinking plan. This ensured employers are not allowed to contact employees outside of working hours if it’s work-related. Additionally, employees are prohibited from being penalized if they refuse.

In the executive wing of the European Union, policymakers are building new insight and information regarding the future of work. They work to decide how the digital or virtual workplace will be shaped in the future.

These actions allow politicians to draw up legislation that would see more employees having the right to conduct work-related activities if it falls outside of their core working hours.


Portugal is perhaps even taking it a step further, as the country was perhaps the first to introduce a law that makes it entirely illegal for an employer to contact their employees after hours.

Of course, the case is different if it’s seen as an emergency. To make it illegal, shows how politicians are changing tides when it comes to remote working protocols.

Portugal’s labor laws enacted back in November 2021. They have helped other countries see the value in creating progressive labor practices that look to improve the working conditions and well-being of employees.


In Canada, Bill 27: Working for Workers Act, 2021 recently came into effect, after the Ontario government was able to pass it in late December 2021. The bill requires employers with 25+ staff members to establish a policy that indicates how they will ensure employees disconnect.

Starting in March 2023, the same Bill 27, would now require employers with 25 employees or more to have a written policy that outlines the rules and regulations of employees to disconnect from the workplace.

The practices make it easier for employers to have better control and monitor employees’ activity. It also ensures that those who are struggling to disconnect entirely are protected.


All-in-all, the progress has been somewhat slow.

Our remote work lifestyles should be balanced. We should still value our work, and what we do, just during the hours we’re on the clock.