C’est si bon! No emails after 6 PM in France

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France bans email past 6pm careerbuilder

(Editor’s Update: Sacré bleu! There’s a bit of contention about all the facts in this story. You can read more from Buzzfeed, if you find them to be a credible news source to contest another credible news source.)

Leave it to the French to throw off the shackles of email oppression by declaring that there shall be no more emails sent after 6 p.m. Well, maybe.

It seems that unions and employers reached an agreement that designated employees will no longer check their work-related email before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. However, the agreement rule that’s being bandied about covers approximately 250,000 1 million workers in the tech and consulting industries, which includes workers in the French offices of companies like Google, Facebook and probably Apple. If you’re fluent in French, you can check out the new email rule here, which is much less hyperbolic than some reports have claimed.

It seems that this rule came about because the French were slowly creeping toward a 40-hour work week. Since decreed in 1998, France implemented a 35-hour work week, though it’s been disputed quite a bit in the following decades, following studies that showed it only made workers more unhappy and there was no actual change in the number of hours worked.

Not surprising. Having a shorter work week only means loading more work into less amount of time with the same number of people, giving employees more work to do with less resources. The intent of the union was to limit exhausted workers to having at least 11 hours off from work communication, which I still consider a valiant effort and one that will be difficult to break in both employee and employer habits.

I don’t know about this – it leads me to a lot of questions:

  • Will people ACTUALLY stop responding to emails?
  • Can your boss yell at you for not responding in a timely manner?
  • What about clients?
  • Who is exempt from these rules – groups like customer service, tech support, etc?

However, I am delighted to think of all the possibilities of seeing or receiving the alert that an ‘urgent’ email has hit your inbox:

The “How dare you email me at 6:01 p.m.”

The “I woke up at 7 and saw an email from my boss. What a silly!”

The “Does not compute. Destroy.”

The “I know how I can prevent seeing emails beyond 6 p.m.”

Or simply acknowledging and doing nothing:

Share your thoughts? Could you do your job without checking your email between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.? What do you think are the bigger issues that nobody is thinking about with this? 

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