I recently stumbled across an article on Ragan addressing a proposed French amendment that would “ban” work email after hours. It’s an interesting concept, but is it practical?
Of course not.
If France does pass the ban, there wouldn’t be “punishments” set up for those violating the rules. It’s more about trying to encourage a society to embrace the benefits of decompressing. Not a bad thing at all.
And, admittedly the idea of mandatory “unplugging” from your job sounds great sometimes. Everyone needs, and is entitled to, some downtime to unwind and recharge, right?
BUT … not everyone unwinds in the same way.
Some, myself included, may actually like staying plugged in to what’s happening. Believe it or not, for me It’s more cathartic to “pop in” on my email when I’m line at the grocery store, in between sets at the gym, or waiting for a movie to start at the theater. I like feeling connected and in-the-know.
And there are plenty of times when I take advantage of the opportunity to do a little work from home late at night. It helps me get a leg up on the next day and can actually make the next 8 hours of office time less stressful.
Also, let’s not forget, we live in a global market. TRG has clients and colleagues spreading across both U.S. coasts and around the world. Sometimes, it’s just more convenient to email during my off-hours when communicating with those on the other end of the day-night spectrum.
The key is recognizing when it’s time to for you to go dark. There are absolutely benefits to leaving work at work, turning email off and taking an extended break. Just make sure everyone knows that you are officially off the grid for a while so they can plan and adjust accordingly.
But please, no wholesale ban on after-hours emails, OK?
To quote the theme song from Diff’rent Strokes …
Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, might not be right for some.
“Email” flickr photo by AJC1 https://flickr.com/photos/ajc1/7543411458 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license