Jan 02, 2017 05:00 PM EST

‘Right To Disconnect’: France Enacts Law That Bans Checking Emails After Work Hours

By Conan K.

France starts this year with their so-called “right to disconnect" law wherein companies with more than 50 workers are obliged to let their employees not work or check emails outside their working hours. This law already took effect yesterday, January 1, 2017.

The reason behind the law implemented was explained by a member of the parliament, Benoit Hammon on BBC. He stated, "Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached to a kind of electronic leash - like a dog." This means that emails and texts concerning work lead to stressed employees, and with that leash live their life as a working den.

Meanwhile, Linh Le, a partner at Elia management consultants in Paris also added that working even though at home poses a threat to family relationships. She also recognized the needs of employees to be more productive. Being productive will be developed by employees because of their time spared rather than working off themselves spent for their families instead with this policy. It also would help companies know the need to stop harassing workers.

Moreover, three studies back up this “right to disconnect” policy. One is from The Colorado State University which stated that “off hours” email leads to the stress of employees and remove the balance of work and life. They also added that working hours after work lead to employees finding the fear of detaching from work. This seemed also the same as Hammon’s statement that emails serve as an electronic leash for employees. 

The University of British Columbia also supports Colorado’s theory through their study that checking emails less frequently indeed reduces stress. Their study proves that checking emails less also leads to a higher outlook of an employee in life.

According to The Guardian, another study from France Eleas showed that more than one-thirds of workers rely on their devices on and off work. This overuse of devices leads to burnouts and sleepiness, which produce the inability to rest. With relationships at hand and work in mind, employees find a hard time on which they would give up. However, with this new policy, French workers can now enjoy life and work at the same time.

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