AIAS Lunch Seminar 11 December - Jan Popma (HSI, University of Amsterdam)

’Technostress and the right to disconnect’

Jan Popma (HSI, University of Amsterdam)

Day: Thursday 11 December 2014
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 2nd floor, G building, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, Amsterdam
Registration: Please send an email, preferably before Wednesday 10 December, 12.00 hrs, to register.
A sandwich will then be provided.


Thanks to wireless technologies, notably the rise of smart phones, many workers can now work anywhere anytime. The so-called ‘New Ways of Work’ (NWoW), i.e. place- and time-independent work, provides more autonomy and greater flexibility for workers. On the other hand, more and more workers experience a blurring of working time and rest time, and sense an unsettling feeling to be permanently connected. In this respect, NWoW not only provides autonomy, but entails serious psychosocial risks as well. The experienced ‘techno-invasion’ leads to lack of recovery time, fatigue and eventually burn-out – a phenomenon that has been labelled ‘techno-stress’ (Popma, 2013).
In order to turn the rising tide of burnt-out workers, some major European companies have taken measures to ensure a “right to disconnect”. In France, a collective labour agreement has been reached which not only grants a right to disconnect, but a duty to do so.
In the lunch seminar, Jan Popma will draft a picture of the effects of techno-stress, as well as of the current legislation relevant to the issue. He then addresses the question whether or not workers should be protected against techno invasion – even if they themselves may prefer to be permanently on line.


Jan Popma, Senior researcher in Labour, Risks and Regulation (Hugo Sinzheimer Institute, University of Amsterdam)

Jan Popma studied sociology and philosophy of technology at the University of Amsterdam. In 2003, the obtained his PhD from Maastricht University. In 2005, he joined the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute as a researcher in occupational health and safety legislation. The last few years, his research interests have shifted to the theme of ‘emerging risks’ of new technologies, such as the rise of smart phones, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and robotics. He also teaches Public Labour Law, a course in ‘Labour, risks and risk management’ as well as a course in ‘New Risks and Regulation’.

Relevant publications

Preventie of paranoia? Een parodie op het ‘voorzorgsdenken’ (recensie van W.J. Kortleven, Voorzorg in Nederland), in: Recht der Werkelijkheid 2014 (forthcoming)
Help de robots komen/help, de robots komen, in: Het Parool, 30 september 2014, (

The Janus Face of New Ways of Work, Brussels: European Trade Union Institute, Working Paper 2013.07 (

The next lunch seminar 15 January 2015

Fit or Unfit
Els Sol
Researcher AIAS/Hugo Sinzheimer Institute

Click here for all the AIAS lunch seminars from September – December 2014
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