“Niksen” – doing nothing, “the right to disconnect” and balance in life

Australian authorities are preparing legislation to give workers the “right to disconnect” and reject calls from employers after working hours. According to the proposed regulations, employers who contact employees after designated working hours may be subject to a fine, and “the employee will not be obliged to monitor, read and respond to business messages from the employer after working hours.” Similar regulations have already been implemented by, among others, Kenya and France.

According to a Ford Motor Company study, just over half of U.S. workers would be willing to take a 20 per cent pay cut in exchange for a better quality of life and more excellent work-life balance. Younger workers express such wishes – 60% of Millennials (aged 27 to 42) and 56% of Generation Z (aged 18 to 26). According to the study, the older the generation of employees, the less willing they are to give up part of their salary for a more excellent life balance.

A 2023 study by Dutch non-profit research organisation TNO found that one in five Netherlands workers suffers from burnout symptoms. So, is the Dutch concept of “niksen” a recipe for burnout? It involves doing nothing occasionally and minimising the pressure for the best possible result in every life activity. According to some experts, “niksen” is not an inherently Dutch lifestyle but rather a reaction to the modern lifestyle.

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