Yesterday, my colleague Chris sent me a BBC article, entitled 'The plan to ban work emails out of hours', and it provoked me to share my thoughts.

The article details the French government's plans to stop people using and checking their work emails outside of office hours, apparently saving the French people from digital burnout. This 'disconnection' clause is part of a labour law, an attempt to reduce stress in the workplace and combat the negative effects of the 'Digital Revolution'.

"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant," says Socialist MP, Benoit Hamon.

"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 colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down." 

This got me thinking... Am I ever offline?

For me, the answer is - incredibly rarely. Not really ever actually. And when I am, I'm ashamed to admit that I do feel slightly panicky. It's a panic that someone, somewhere might desperately need me. Or that my unusual silence might send my family into a spin. Even after a delightful weekend in Norfolk with zero signal for 48 hours, I was happy to return to the safety of a signalled Surrey. Pathetic? Maybe. But being online all the time does have its advantages, for my clients anyway - I am forever checking my work emails too. Do I feel like I'm on an electronic leash? Not at all. If I want to go offline, I will. 

My opinion on this is that the French government shouldn't interfere. It is my choice whether I check, or use my work email out of work. I like to feel on top of what is going on, I enjoy checking them in the morning, and even before I go to bed, and that causes me no trouble personally. Whether this is generational, something about the way our agency works, or just the world around us, I don't know.

And, of course, there are some people in my office who wouldn't dream of checking their work emails outside of work, and I respect that. The point is - we all have a choice at theblueballroom. And that's how it should be, shouldn't it? I believe there should be no expectation from a business to be online outside of work hours, and I'd even go as far as saying that if my employer pushed me to check them, I'd probably resist. Ha.  

The bottom line is this: everybody is different. Neither countries nor companies should dictate the way people think, feel and react to the world around them.  So I will fight for my right to be online. But it's OK if you want to be offline too. 

 

 

Comment