France Is One Step Closer to Banning Work Emails After-Hours
A bill that would ban the sending of emails after work hours for companies with 50 or more employees is currently on its way to the Senate in France after passing in the lower parliament. The bill stresses the fact that studies have found that people are more stressed about work now than they used to be because of the growing trend to be “on” 24/7. Technology has made it possible for you to never really leave the office after work.
“All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant,” Socialist MP Benoit Hamon told BBC. “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,” he continued. France already has a 35-hour work week and proposed a similar bill two years ago, though it never passed. Not everyone agrees with the bill, however. According to the BBC, some say the bill would prevent them from doing their jobs, especially when working with international clients or closing a sale. There is also the possibility employers would just side-step the bill by using other forms of communication. As such, there is no penalty for breaking the law, meaning companies would really just be on the honor system. Jon Whittle, a researcher at Digital Brain Trust, which studies the way technology influences work-life balance, told The Washington Post, “Email is just a medium used to communicate. The real problem is the culture of having to constantly do more and constantly do better than competitors.” Perhaps rather than blaming technology, we should look deeper into our culture and try to fix things from within.
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