Want your boss to stop emailing you after work? Easy solution; move to France. French workers have started the New Year with a bang and also with a “right to disconnect law” granting the employees in the country the legal right to ignore work emails outside of typical working hours.
According to this new employment law, French companies with more than 50 employees have to begin drawing up policies with their workers about limiting work-related technology usage outside the office. This new reform means no more constant pressure to check smartphone or to look up How to block unwanted emails from appearing in your inbox
French officials have stated that the motivation behind the legislation is to stem work-related stress that increasingly leaks into people’s personal time and hopefully to prevent employee burnout. This adds a whole new perspective to work-life balance debate concerning human resources. Benoit Hamon, Socialist member of Parliament and former French education minister, told the BBC in May:
“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails: they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”
The ease and ubiquity of technology have made us always-on creatures It’s common, and not just in France, its common for bosses to think that employees can be emailed at any time of day or night. The constant work pressure has made human moods tend toward the always-off as psychologists have already raised the alarm that the constant work emailing can be, quite simply, toxic to emotional health. France already has a shortest 35-hour workweek since 2000 and it is yet to be seen if the work-life balance would be obtained from this new law.