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November 29, 2018

Out of Office: Do you check your device outside of the 9-5?

Do you check your smartphone on your commute to and from work? Taken a day’s holiday but still check your phone for work emails? You’re not alone.

With today’s current climate of Brits working more than ever before and struggling to establish a good work-life balance, checking our phones outside of the 9-5 seems to be the norm, and just another part of daily life.

Here at Insurance2go, we conducted a survey to find out just how many Brits use their personal device to work outside of their standard office hours and found that an overwhelming percentage of Brits do.

The UK’s opinion

So, just how many Brits check their phone when they’re meant to be off the clock?

61% of people said they had used their personal device to answer work emails or conduct work tasks either on their commute, when they get home from work, when they’re out of the office ill or on holiday, and throughout the weekend too.

A further 16% of people said they checked their phones during their lunch hour, and only 23% said they use their work devices to conduct work-related activities during working hours.

And it was women more than men with the tendency to check their phones outside of their 9-5, with 29% of women claiming to check their phones for work issues when they’re ill or on holiday, and only 16% of men saying the same. A further 29% of women admitted to checking work emails throughout their work hours, whilst only 21% of men agreed.

But what are the current laws in the UK for working away from the office? And what type of work can we legally carry out on a personal device?

What about GDPR?

In April 2018, new data protection laws were introduced, meaning businesses now need to ensure that any data stored on their employees’ mobile phones is as secure as it would be on the workplace server.

This means that many tasks, such as sensitive client information, should technically not be carried out on personal devices, as it cannot be guaranteed that the information is completely secure.

Surprisingly, 46% of people surveyed said they weren’t aware of how these new GDPR rules affected their work on personal devices, suggesting employers need to do more to ensure their employees know how to keep their, and their client’s, data safe.

Should we follow the French Government?

Back in 2016, the French Government introduced a law that means workers have the legal right to avoid checking work emails out of hours. Employers are hoping this will reduce burnout among their workforce and help restore a work-life balance within employees.

The government overwhelmingly voted to approve the ban, requiring companies to negotiate with their employees to agree on their rights to switch off from work when out of the office and reduce the intrusion of work into their private lives.

But should the UK should follow suit?

Despite the earlier statistics showing that Brits do check their phones outside of working hours, an overwhelming 65% of Brits surveyed revealed that the UK should follow in the footsteps of the French and have the right to avoid checking their work emails out of hours. 

And if you’re an avid user of your phone for work related issues during out of office hours, you need to make sure its protected from theft, loss and damage too. Thankfully, our award-winning smartphone insurance starts from just £7.99 a month, so your phone can be thoroughly safe and protected.