The Future Workforce Alliance (FWA) has launched its European Charter for Workplace Wellbeing. The FWA is a bipartisan initiative looking to expand digital working rights for all employees through policy, technology, and social methods.
The new wellbeing charter, which seeks to provide guidance for employers grappling with this new era of digitized, remote work (and the resulting mental health crises), has now been signed by over thirty members of the European Parliament.
Among signees is MEP Dragoș Pîslaru, who serves as the Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as well as MEP Lídia Pereira, who is the President of Youth European People’s Party.
Speaking exclusively with UNLEASH, Ben Marks, co-founder of the FWA, shares: “Our goal is to champion legal, technological, and policy-based solutions that protect workers’ rights amidst unprecedented digital disruption.
“Our members are united by their support of workers’ flexibility and are dedicated to driving tangible policy solutions for a better future of work.”
Filipa Matos, another co-founder of the FWA, as well as VP of special operations at Remote, tells UNLEASH: “Many businesses are still figuring out their own boundaries and policies internally or already have them in place, so we don’t want to overregulate.
“Instead, we want to help employers and HR leaders to have clear-cut guidance, so they feel empowered, and their employees feel empowered, to have a better life-work balance and an improved relationship with technology.”
It’s time for HR to rethink, starting with language
To help policy makers, as well as organizations and HR leaders, focus their efforts in the current state of work, the FWA’s charter is split into four areas: life beyond work, social connection, privacy & trust, and digital wellness.
Each provides actionable insights to help support employers with their own internal policies, and to lay the groundwork for a change in European Union workplace policy.
Among the charter’s actionable principles is shifting the language from “work-life balance” to “life-work balance” – calling for this change across all official EU documentation.
Of the language change, Matos explains: “It’s time to upgrade existing workforce infrastructures by evolving the concept of working, and part of that process is considering the language we use to talk about work.
“It’s important to reframe the concept of work-life balance because this suggests that work comes first, life comes after. Instead, we talk about life-work balance – how work fits into your life, not the other way around.”
The charter also seeks to reassess and widely establish so-called ‘right to disconnect’ laws in the EU, and to establish legal definitions of ideas like a “healthy relationship with technology in the workplace”.
Talking to UNLEASH, Marks states: “Employers are concerned about productivity, while employees may be struggling with their mental health as a result of a lack of boundaries and a feeling of being ‘always on’.
“So having a legal definition of a healthy work-technology relationship can provide employers with much-needed guidance, and ensure that hybrid and remote employees are protected.”
As Europe and the rest of the world awaits further future-of-work policy, it is, of course, never too early for companies to start acting.
Organizations – and HR departments, specifically – can start to adhere to the principles of the charter today by introducing their own policies which promote a healthy life-work balance.
There’s no need to wait for governmental guidance.
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