Calls for emails sent while commuting to be classed as work

Calls for emails sent while commuting to be classed as work

A study by the University of the West of England, suggests that commuters are so regularly using their commute to and from the office to send emails, that it should be counted as part of the working day.

The research examined 5,000 rail passengers on commuter routes into London as WiFi technology becomes more common on trains. It found that 54% of commuters using the trains WiFi were sending work emails, either preparing for their day ahead, or catching up on work they couldn't get done during office hours. 

The findings have once again raised the question of work-life balance in the UK and whether it’s healthy to extend the working day beyond contracted hours.

Philip Richardson, Partner and Head of Employment Law at Stephensons said: 

“The quest to achieve the perfect work-life balance has always been a precarious one, both for employees and employers. Often the boundaries between the two are increasingly blurred and open to interpretation, with many employment contracts failing to provide any adequate clarity. This research underlines the need for organisations, in a digital age, to address the issue and recognise that working practices have changed.

The findings will also add more weight to those calling for the introduction of new legislation for workers to secure the ‘right to disconnect’ out of hours – similar to measures already brought in across Europe.”