The French Counterstrike Against Work E-mail


Do we have the right to be disconnected from communications technologies, especially when we consider our relationship to our companies and workplaces? 

I’ll give you two minutes to think of a time when you were truly disconnected from all devices and technologies, hard, isn’t it? Of course total disconnection is hard to consider but I wonder how many of you reading this manage to disconnect from work when you get home or on weekends. Would you appreciate some outside help to do so?

The French have it would appear declared war on employees responding to company emails after work hours (via the New Yorker) , according to new legislation:

“The development of information and communication technologies, if badly managed or regulated, can have an impact on the health of workers,” […] “Among them, the burden of work and the informational overburden, the blurring of the borders between private life and professional life, are risks associated with the usage of digital technology.” 

The French government is suggesting that companies turn off their emails servers after-hours which equates to a corporate communications shut down. Sounding attractive?

According to Lauren Collins from The New Yorker:

In one way, the legislation seeks to regulate a simple labor issue: no one wants to do work for which he’s not getting paid. But there’s an appealingly metaphysical aspect to its recognition that not everything—our devices and, by extension, ourselves—can be “on” all the time, that each of us is entitled to the prerogative of occasional self-erasure. The right to disconnect is effectively the right to be forgotten between the hours of six and nine.

This reminds me of another attempt to shift from nudging people out of technology dependency to outright prohibition as we recently wrote about here which is the example of the vanishing desk of the agency Heldergroen.

Both initiatives are aimed at shaping behaviors around the same issue - how do we deal with 24/7 access to information which for many of us brings many benefits with the desire to create a better work life balance?

How would you feel if your own workplace introduced such a policy? Try to imagine yourself without being able to refresh your inbox in the evening or at the weekend - how does that feel? 

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
(Este post foi retirado do nosso blog Designing Deeper)