Accessability Links

Off the Clock

Posted by
07 Jul 2014

Whilst having a look through LinkedIn, an article about banning work emails received after hours caught my attention.

With the rise of smartphones and work emails going through to them, it is inevitable that many people will continue to check their work emails out of working hours - I know a number of people who work in various industries who do look at, and often respond to, such emails.

I know that some people genuinely do not mind checking and replying to emails out of working hours, but I suppose that the real problem is where employees feel under pressure from their employers to be doing this outside of work, and what effects this could be having on their life outside of the office walls.

With it becoming the norm for many employees, it seems a postitive move to me that some organisations and unions in other countries are putting serious consideration into reducing the potentially negative impact this could have on their employeers.

France has recently brought in rules to protect employees in the digital and consultancy industries from emails disturbing them outside their office hours.

According to media reports, they won't receive emails before 9am or after 6pm, and a deal between employers' federations and unions suggests that employees will have to turn off work phones, not check work emails, and firms cannot put pressure on staff to be checking their emails beyond standard working hours.

Volkswagen has also put into place that their servers won't send emails 30 minutes after the end of employees' shifts, and they will only start again half an hour before the employee has returned to work.

According to an article by the BBC, there is protection for many types of worker in the form of the Working Time Regulations, but it is argued that this does not cover the issue of out of hours emails, and there are obviously exemptions to these for certain workers, such as lawyers and doctors.

In this article, one lawyer has suggested that receiving work emails on their phones isn't necessarily a negative, and that it often allows employees more flexibility to not be in the office, as they can reply wherever they are.

Although in some industries it is obviously an accepted part of a job, should it be acceptable when it is disrupting your work-life balance to an extent where it is could be disrupting sleep, holidays, or relationships?

Perhaps employees should expect an increase in salary for clearly working during such anti-social hours...

I imagine that in reality it would never be possible to introduce a ban on this working style, especially with our increasing dependence on technology, but it would be interesting to see how some industries would manage if they weren't allowed to email out of set office hours.

How would you feel if someone banned you from accessing your work email out of your contracted hours - relieved, or stressed? Please leave your thoughts below.

Tagged In: Employment, Events, Legal
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