The end of the working week in France heralded a minor milestone for workers. It marks five days since the government enacted a law giving employees the right to switch off, the first time a country has sought to protect work-life balance in a hyper connected world.
It came as a relief for some in Paris’ business district at risk of digital burnout.
“Executives don’t dare admit to being fed up with presenteeism and of being reachable all the time. Why? Because acknowledging that you can’t keep track in our world today is shooting youtself in the foot, professionally speaking,” explained Communication expert Caroline Sauvajol-Rialland.
France’s postal service was one of the first firms to recognise the benefits of logging off when clocking out, allowing workers the right not to reply to emails.
“I know colleagues who were under much more pressure,” said Didier Chabanne, a Financial Officer at La Poste. “The fact that it is now on paper, they have tools to say ‘no’, ‘now I can’t answer’, (…) knowing that everyone gains from this (…) because for the company, if people can say stop they can recover and be way more productive.”
Moving from an ‘always-on’ to a ‘switched-off’ culture may be easier said than done, as the technology to keep workers connected is always in the palms of their hands.