The Internet has been abuzz over the last week or so about a new labor agreement in France amongst its nation’s employees which stipulates that they have a ‘duty to disconnect’ from their work emails, work phones, etc. after the 6pm hour. Employers also won’t be able to harass employees or threaten their employ if they follow this new rule. France is getting kudos for many here stateside for their proactivity when it comes to Work Life Balance and Work Life Management, and I am all here for this ruling.
In my book, SHINE: 10 Tips for Effective Work Life Balance, I discuss at length the importance of setting boundaries as it relates to ones career. I’ve always been a proponent of not answering work emails or work related calls after 8pm, so that one can focus on their center and decompressing from work for better health and wellness. This is just one of the many things that we can do to ensure that we have proper balance.
France is not new to the Work Life Management side of things. In 1999, they unveiled a 4-day work week, and those employed in France get 5 weeks off each year–paid. This, in turn some say, make them more productive and efficient while at work and has also cutdown on stress-related illnesses and issues.
So the question begs—France gets it. When will we?
The U.S. lags a lot of countries when it comes to the well-being of their employees. We currently do not have paid maternity/paternity leave (but it can be covered by FMLA—unpaid). There are companies that do pay their employees who are out on maternity leave, but those are rare. The U.S. is very much pro-big business, without much thought for the people behind the scenes who help build them.
And because of this, we are a stressed out, burned out nation of people who are overworked. We don’t know how to turn it off. We work past work hours and are constantly connected and plugged-in, which can impede proper balance. And when that happens, you can forget about boundaries. Those go out the window.
If you want to work your fingers to the bone, I say, it’s your world—do it. But for those who long for time to truly be off the clock, it is getting harder and harder to do so. Some say it’s all about the grind. I say grind to a point. Anything over that becomes counterproductive because you grind yourself towards burnout. You can only work hard for so long before it begins to take a toll on you physically, mentally, and even emotionally.
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, then you already know where I stand. I say kudos for France for having the guts to set limits on work. Now, we have to learn how to also set boundaries on ourselves work wise as well.
What are your thoughts on the new rule in France? Yay or nay?