Emails – only in the workplace?

Thoughtful man reading his tablet computer

The French Socialist Party, run by President Francois Hollande, has proposed a governmentally implemented ban on work emails outside of normal work hours. A vote will occur on the measure that according to Hollande, will preserve employee’s rights to disconnect.

The bill would see all companies with 50+ people write up a ‘good conduct’ charter, with hours (usually evenings or weekends) completely blocked out where one would not be allowed to send or answer work-related emails.

French Socialist MP Benoit Hamon has likened the email connection to a “virtual leash”, which makes it impossible for people to truly disconnect from the workplace once they go home.

It’s true that work related stress is becoming more and more common as work seems to seep through into our every day lives, making it essentially impossible to have a true moment of relaxation without the nagging voice of work in the back of our minds. In 2008, it was estimated that Australia spends over $14.81 billion battling workplace stress. The question is, will banning emails at specific times fix this?

There’s a certain professional obligation to respond to emails as soon as they are received, despite whatever is happening in that moment. This makes vacations, days off and holidays pretty gruelling. Try and think back to the last proper day you had off, without contact from work and without worries.

Emails essentially transform every room in a home to a workplace, since you can receive and have to answer an email at any point. Many people reflect that this is incredibly detrimental to relationship health and overall mental health.

Ruth is an aspiring writer and coffee enthusiast who keeps a keen eye on the comings and goings of Australia.