What France is doing with work emails is pure genius
Here's the scenario: You don't particularly hate your job. You're good at it, you've built up a solid reputation amongst your peers and doing a little extra work off the clock isn't something you consider intrusive to personal affairs. By definition, you're a well-rounded employee and are likely secure in that position for years to come. But goddamnit, those emails. The blood-sucking little bits of correspondence just won't let go, they ding, they buzz — and that stupid fucking red flag is about as obnoxious as a canker sore with less relief from natural salves.
If emails follow you around, you're one of the many umpteen-millions of people around the world with the same issue. If a proposed bill passes in France, however, residents of the country will be allowed to enact a "right to disconnect" lifestyle, which essentially allows for people to tell their jobs to fuck off until the next business day and not face retribution for it from their employers.
The proposal comes on the heels of conflict about the current 35-hour workweek in France, a country known for its love of rest, relaxation and great wine while resting and relaxing. Recently, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets to show disapproval of other regulations that they say are impeding on workers' right to have an actual life outside of their job. Opponents of the shortened workweek (with all overtime being paid after 35 hours) say the extra money stunts progression. Proponents say, "What was that? Couldn't hear you over all this fun I'm having."
The necessity to regulate after-hours work is said to be a preventative measure for the French before they start burning themselves out trying to keep up with the digital age of mass information. Some 3.2 million workers were found to be emotionally exhausted from work and are at risk of freaking out mentally because of the added strain.
"It is a real problem," said Yves Lasfargue, a sociologist, tells USA Today. "Twenty years ago, before emails had been invented and we could not reach colleagues, we would have to go and knock on their doors. Traditional courtesy teaches you to abstain from disturbing people. With these new tools, this form of courtesy has totally disappeared. This is why we need to legislate."
We might be going out on a limb here by saying this, but if you're involved with a company that's willing to reprimand you for not getting back to emails on off-hours, you should probably go and find another job. Willingly participating in back-and-forths on your free time is one thing, but being disciplined for having an autonomous relationship with the world is another. There's no need to be an arthritic blob of stress in your early 30s because you think getting ahead means doing fucking everything at the exact time it comes down the line.
Work can wait, life won't ...