Legislation would ban after-work emails

by Sarah Megginson07 Oct 2014
We’re clocking in more hours at work more than ever before, thanks to technological advances such as smartphones and remote email.
In fact, according to Gallup's most recent annual Work and Education Survey, adults employed full time in the US report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than a standard five-day, 9-to-5 work week.
But some thought leaders don’t like where we’re headed – and they’re prepared to take measures to protect employees from working around the clock.
German minister for Labour, Andrea Nahles, has confirmed that the country is considering bringing in new laws that will make it illegal to email colleagues after 6pm.
Her department has conducted research, which found “an undeniable relationship between constant availability and the increase of mental illness,” Nahles said.
New legislation limiting workers' access to their emails outside office hours could come into force as early as 2016.
It follows a decision made in France earlier this year to help workers avoid burnout, whereby two groups of employers agreed to provide an “obligation to disconnect”, defined as an acknowledgment that workers have a right to a chunk of time off every day.
The employers represent around 250,000 people in the technology and consultancy sectors, including the French arms of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC.
Would you support a policy banning emails after 6pm?

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  • by JanS 7/10/2014 11:53:47 AM

    Really? This is taking things a step too far. My husband leaves work at 3.30pm to pick up our son from school and then logs back in to complete the rest of his days work after 6pm. Laws such as this would jeopardise these types of flexible working arrangements. People need to take some responsibility for their work/life balance. For example I do not have my work email linked to my phone. Companies also need to respect the importance of work/life balance for their employees and not expect employees to respond to emails "after hours". Therefore I would not support a policy banning the use of emails after 6pm. I do however support Work/Life Balance Policies where the expectations of all parties are clearly outlined.

  • by Sarah 8/10/2014 1:04:48 PM

    I agree JanS this type of legislation would limit flexibility and I think that too would really hurt employee wellbeing and balance. I'm lucky to work for a great company where work/life balance is encouraged, promoted and truly lived (including flexibility) but I've also worked for many companies that refuse to recognise the importance of employee wellbeing and push all their staff to burnout through ridiculous expectations that they don't openly communicate but are so deep in the company culture that it will take some time to change. What can we do to address this?

  • by New Young Professional 9/10/2014 11:42:07 AM

    I agree, the idea behind it which is to promote a better work life balance is what we should be pushing, encouraging more workplaces to negotiate flexible work practices with their workers where possible.

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