There’s nothing more aggravating (nor exhausting) than getting home after a gruelling day at work, only to open your phone and be greeted by… more work.
The French government has recognized this plight by rolling out a new law that gives workers the “right to disconnect” after work.
The law, which requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff shouldn’t send or receive emails, officially went into effect this week; its aim being to prevent employee burnout and also to ensure that workers are being fairly compensated.
French legislator Benoit Hamon said the law was passed in response to the stress and strain experienced by workers who “leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash—like a dog.”
The new law is said to be beneficial to both workers and employers, as it will make employees more relaxed and effective during their time in the office.
Past studies have found that workplace email causes significant stress in employees. It’s been estimated that workplace stress added between $125 and $190 billion annually to healthcare costs in the U.S., with overwork accounting for $48 billion of that.
These are costs that largely end up on the backs of employers; perhaps this fact, paired with the specter of a workforce burnt out by workdays that never seem to end, will motivate the U.S. to borrow a page from France sooner rather than later.