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  • Healthcare professionals (42.5%) least likely to ignore work calls outside office hours, whilst real estate professionals most likely (72.6%)
  • Regionally, the Northern Irish find it the easiest to switch off – 45.8% would ignore call from boss

In France, you can forget work after 6pm. In a series of measures designed to protect employees from dreaded after-work calls or emails, the government passed a new law last year establishing workers’ “right to disconnect” when they leave the office, as well as ensuring they are fairly paid.

In Britain, however, a late-night message from the boss is more standard than sacré bleu.  As a country, do we surrender to the pressure/requirement to answer?

HandsetExpert surveyed 1,850 Brits to find out how we deal with the pressures of being an “always-on” society – and the results were very interesting.

Overall, Brits clearly have a relentless work ethic with only 29% stating that they wouldn’t answer a call from their boss outside of work hours. To be fair this may be for numerous reasons, from being on the toilet or in the bath, to other compromising situations… To put it another way, a huge 71% of Brits would drop everything to pick up a call from their boss out of work hours.

The results showed which industry was most likely to ignore calls from their boss. Unsurprisingly, it was those in the healthcare industry who were least likely to blow off their boss’ calls, with 42.5% stating they wouldn’t pick up.

At the other end of the spectrum, those in the real estate industry were not at all keen on after-hours contact – this isn’t surprising, though, as many are already working the longest hours in the country. HandsetExpert’s survey showed that a huge 72.6% of the industry would not answer a phone call after hours, but no doubt they’d have their excuse ready the next working day!

Those working in hospitality were more torn on the question – which may be because out-of-hours calls are a rarer occurrence – with just over half (58.1%) admitting they’d ignore a phone call from their boss. Respondents in the pharmaceutical industry were also quite split, with 60.2% keen on the do-not-bother-me rule.

HandsetExpert’s survey also revealed that regionally, those in the North East are more chained to work, with 80.6% saying they would pick up the phone. On the other hand, those in Northern Ireland find it much easier to switch off – a staggering 45.8% revealed they would ignore a call from their boss if it was outside office hours.

Founder of HandsetExpert, Shahrum Gilani, commented on the results:

“In this age of instant communication, there is pressure on employees to be “switched on” all hours of the day. Our research shows that a large proportion of Brits would answer the phone out of office hours, but an expectation of around-the-clock availability from employers is a sure path to employee dissatisfaction and low morale.

Employers must take note of the fine line that separates an employee’s work and personal time and discuss what will and won’t work with staff from the outset. If employees feel cared for and respected, this will likely reflect in the quality of their work and willingness to pick up an out-of-hours call here and there if they believe it is important.”