Let’s get real. This new French Law giving workers the right to ignore emails after work is nonsensical. Blasphemy. Imbecilic. Downright…
Just imagine that for a minute, the law protects you from wasting your time glued to your inbox, or saturating any opportunity you may have of achieving work-life balance or drowning yourself in the thick sludge of constant connectivity. The law rids you of the guilt you feel when replies and deadlines and fires are put off until the next morning. The law, ladies and gentlemen.
If you have a difficult time imagining this, you’re not alone. Regardless of how much we try to disconnect or maintain a company culture that encourages more LIFE away from work, it’s difficult to truly break the cycle of late-night emails and gotta-get-that-done-guilt. So, even in the near impossibility that our Country would pass a similar law—would it ever really change anything?
“In France, a person’s personal life is not a passive entity,” reports Lauren Collins of The New Yorker. “What does set the French apart from the average American worker,” she goes on to say, “isn’t their attitude towards work, but their attitude towards leisure.”
Perhaps it’s our very attitude towards work-life balance that prevents us from ever really achieving it. Maybe we’ve encouraged a culture that thrives on burnout and rewards the overworked, and maybe that’s why (according to a popular study in The Journal of The American Medical Association) Americans are also living with more health problems, ranging from chronic back pain to depression.
Ready for another wake-up call?
The United States spends twice as much as France on its average health care per person, and France ranks much higher than the United States for life expectancy.
Oh. Well then. Law or no law, it may be time to adopt a more reculer pour mieux sauter attitude toward extended working hours; take a stronger position in and for our personal lives. After all, economic research suggests that a push to colonize every hour of the day for the sake of productivity has counteractive returns. In a 2014 study by Stanford University, employee productivity drops sharply when people work more than 55 hours in a week. Someone “who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours,” tells CNBC.
The le droit de la déconnexion—the “right to disconnect” for French citizens—may not ever make its way into our judiciary lexicon but that does not mean we can’t make (personal) positive changes for a more balanced and bountiful future.
HEILBrice therefore approves the following Automatic Out-of-Office Replies to be used as a Step 1 in your very own right to disconnect decree. To begin immediately: