Technology that once promised freedom from the confines of an office has, for many workers, become a ball and chain, blurring the lines between work hours and, well, any other hours.
Employees worldwide are wanting to draw up a proposal that would bar employers from requiring employees to respond to non-emergency emails, texts and other digital communications outside regular work hours. It would also outlaw retaliating against workers who choose to unplug.
“Work has spilled into our personal lives,” especially due to mobile devices. “We’re always connected to our phones or to a computer once we leave the office.”
It’s important for people to be “able to draw a clear line between the workplace and their personal lives, to give them time to connect with their family, friends, reduce their stress levels and be able to go back to work and perform at their optimal level”.
Clear definitions would be put in place. There would be exemptions for certain types of jobs that require people to be on call. Barring emergencies, bosses wouldn’t be able to demand that workers check work emails or messages in off hours.
A French law came into effect this year that gave employees the right to ignore off-hour communications.
Employers who wanted to return a communication could do so.
If you love your job and you love what you’re doing, it is doubtful that you will stop working, However, that should ultimately be your choice,
Sone bosses have been known to routinely pester their employees with late-night emails, then getting upset when they don’t reply.
It is very often among the conditions that lead people to working for themselves, in which they set their own boundaries about when they’ll respond to people.
Technology has allowed us to work from anywhere at any time. It’s now about being able to control the devices so that we can still have a life.”
It could be detrimental
The reality, though, is that the business world has become a 24/7 place, and adhering to a stringent cut off could be detrimental to a company’s competitiveness
The question is how it would be enforced, and how an emergency would be defined.
It is really a matter of common decency and respect to honour the off time of employees. Sending emails to employees on their off days or outside of work hours, be it over weekends, public holidays or in the evenings is a sign of disrespect. Preparing a mail and leaving it in your draft box until an appropriate time would be a better idea.
Should the employer send any correspondence to an employee after hours, he should not expect or be offended by a lack of reply.
Life is all about balance. When people are unable to cut off from their work, bring it home and attach themselves to a device at the neglect of family time, this is a clear indication that cracks may begin to develop on the home front. It would be prudent to remember this so that your family has quality time with you.
Too often one sees a couple at a restaurant each using their cell phones. This is exceptionally detrimental to the relationship. Why talk to a person who isn’t in your company but neglect the one that is? Sometimes we have to go back to the drawing board and redefine boundaries. Catch the relationship before it cracks as we can’t turn back the clock.