How do you deal with an after-hours text or e-mail from your boss? I might roll my eyes if it means immediate action is needed, but for the most part, I complete the task at hand if necessary. Sometimes, it’s about improving your work and it has nothing to do with your boss. For example, I put together a Top 10 cultural icons we lost in 2016, and before it went to air, George Michael and Carrie Fisher died and I felt it necessary to update the list, even if that meant coming in on vacation. Sometimes it comes down to work ethic, right?
France passed a law that went into effect New Years day – the Disconnect Law.
French workers now have a new “right to disconnect.” The new law allows employees in companies of more than 50 people to ignore emails after work hours. , a move the government says will “ensure the respect of rest time and vacation, as well as personal and family life.”
…companies say the huge number of digital devices is subtly changing the work culture in France—as everywhere. Several managers say they detect a kind of work-creep among their staff, who arrive at work in the mornings stressed out and under-slept.
“Today the digital tools are blurring the boundary between personal and professional lives,” Bruno Mettling, human resources director of the French telecom giant Orange, wrote in a report for the government before the new law came into effect. “With this accumulation of emails, and these employees who return exhausted from the weekend because they have not disconnected, it is not the best way to be effective in companies.” He added that that employees felt increasingly at east checking their personal emails in the office; after all, there was no longer any clear beginning or end to their work days.
The right to disconnect is the government’s main attempt to set new limits. Yet since there are no fines for companies who flout the new rules, the new law comes with little cost. And far more serious labor reforms have stalled, after months of violent street protests last year blocked the government’s plans. The government finally rammed through less controversial changes—including the new right to disconnect—through an edict in parliament.
Even without government action, French companies have already begun grappling with how to rein in their employees’ email obsession, some through top-down instructions that seem to defy the very democratic spirit of digital communications.
Managers at the insurance company Allianz France, with about 10,000 employees, are under orders not to send work emails after 6 p.m., or to organize staff meetings in the late afternoon.
The cut-off time for staff emails is 7 p.m. at KEDGE Business School, which has seven campuses in France. After that, an automatic email lets employees know the email is “out of schedule,” and so can wait until the next workday begins. KEDGE Director Thomas Froehlicher told the French news site Rue89 last week that after the school regards the overuse of emails “like an addiction,” and occasionally “an abuse,” which could be reported to the human resources department.
What do you think!? I have trouble disconnecting and I’ll be the first to admit it.