We need this is our lives.
We’ve all heard about the importance of ‘work/life balance’; businesses regularly tout their support of the idea and employees spend the better part of our waking hours trying to work out how to actually make it happen.
If I had a dollar for every time my SO told me “I wish you wouldn’t work so much, I feel like I never see you”, I wouldn’t need to work anymore. (Thankfully, I have an endlessly supportive partner who understands the not always 9-5 demands of my job.)
Needless to say, while most modern companies bang on about work/life balance, few understand how to actually achieve it for their staff. Which is why, if you’re a person with a job reading this, chances are you’ve received and responded to emails from the boss out of hours on more than one occasion. (In order to assuage my guilt, I should probably note that as a manager myself I’m definitely not innocent of this sin.)
But a revolutionary new labor reform bill in France is attempting to solve this very predicament. French employees have been granted “the right to disconnect”, a bill amendment aimed at reducing the stress associated with being constantly plugged in, which can lead to nomophobia, or cell phone addiction, and burnout.
The new law will make it illegal for companies of 50 or more employees to send emails after standard work hours, and it’s backed by some pretty compelling research.
A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found checking our emails outside of working hours re-exposes us to workplace stress, leading to poor sleep habits and more sick days.
“All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be,” Benoit Hamon of the French National Assembly told BBC earlier this month.
“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash.”
And the effects of constantly remaining attached to that leash are starting to take a toll on us, with 63 per cent of employees admitting to having “high levels” of stress with extreme fatigue, a physiological state known as ‘burnout’. Though we’re only just beginning to understand the devastating effects of stress on the body, a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that the cost of overdoing it can be fatal, finding people suffering from burnout were significantly more likely to develop coronary heart disease.
In other words, if we don’t take the time to slow down (practicing mindfulness is a great way to start), our bodies will eventually force us to. And the consequences of that, may be irreversible.
GIF via giphy.com.
Comment: Are you guilty of staying constantly plugged in to your job? Do you feel pressured to be available 24/7?