Since 1st January, all French employers with over 50 members of staff now have to guarantee them a ‘right to disconnect’, a move which aims to tackle the modern-day pressure to check emails out of hours. Designed to promote a good and healthy work/life balance and to tackle the ‘always on’ culture technology has left many workers living, the new law complements its 2000-imposed law of a 35 work week for all employees across the country.
So what can we learn from the newly-enforced employment law in France?
“In the UK, many of us struggle ‘switching off’ from work, with deadlines, meetings and actions often coming home in our minds with us, adding to the various pressures we can face in our personal lives” explained Chief Executive of Paycare, Kevin Rogers.
“This ‘always on’ culture can be shown to have a huge impact on not just our physical health – leaving us less time to exercise, for example – as well on our mental wellbeing. Overuse of technology, whether smartphones or laptops, has been suspected to be the cause for a number of health-related issues, from burnout and a lack of good sleep, to relationship problems and stress.
“These problems don’t disappear when we clock-in to work, and they can quite often have a big impact on our overall mood, motivation, and productivity.
“In the workplace, employees can be influenced by what their peers and colleagues do. If they see that the boss has emailed at 9pm it can be easy for employees to feel like they have to respond in their own time – even if it doesn’t justify an urgent response. There are many things which can wait until the next working day, when individuals have had the appropriate time to relax and unwind.
“The need to be ever-present has increased as technology has developed though, enabling us to work from anywhere, at any time. However, the possible consequences of creating an ‘always on’ culture can have a detrimental impact to the productivity, and therefore profitability, of employees – and what’s even more evident is that many bosses don’t realise how influential their actions are to their employees.
“The ruling in France is a big stepping stone for employment in the UK and the subsequent spotlight it has placed on employee wellbeing. At Paycare, we encourage an open-door policy and invest in making sure our teams are happy and healthy – and benefit from a good work/life balance. And with our customer satisfaction rate at 99.6%, it’s clear to see that it does have an impact on the bottom-line.”