The advent of the email undoubtedly changed the face of work forever – increasing global connectivity and freeing up employees to work where they wish – but has it gone too far?
France seems to think so – the nation is planning to push through a Bill which will regulate work emails and give employees a legal “right to disconnect.”
While global media guffawed at the proposal when it was first announced, President Francois Holland says his party is serious about the problem of “permanent connection.”
Under the legislation, companies of more than 50 people will be obliged to draw up a charter of good conduct, setting out the hours – normally in the evening and at the weekend – when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails.
"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant," Socialist MP Benoit Hamon told the BBC.
"Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work,” she continued. “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."
While the vast majority have applauded the government’s good intentions, critics have claimed the Bill could actually disadvantage organizations that are competing in an international marketplace.
"I think [the right to disconnect] is wonderful for improving the human condition but totally inapplicable," one software writer told the news outlet.
"In my company we compete with Indian, Chinese, American developers. We need to talk to people around the world late into the night. Our competitors don't have the same restrictions.
"If we obeyed this law we would just be shooting ourselves in the foot."
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