Just because France has officially added restrictions to work-related emails after hours, don’t hold your breath that your government will do the same.
Instead, follow France’s lead and pretend your “right to disconnect” is a law and take it upon yourself to improve your work-life balance. Added bonus, this is the perfect time for starting fresh. It’s like France is looking out for your New Year’s resolutions.
Sadly, Americans probably need the extra push more than most people in France. American workers just can’t log off, even on vacation.
Every time I check my work email after hours a small part of me dies. I need to install some browser blocker, b/c I can’t stop on my own.
— Kate (@KaterinaBeth) March 8, 2016
Study after study has shown the harm never-ending work has on our relationships, mental health and stress levels. Psychologists even have a term for our hyper-connectedness, calling it “telepressure,” meaning we can’t just back away from an email notification.
A study out of Lehigh University and Colorado State last year found after-hour emailing leads to burnout and added stress. Project Time Off is an entire campaign to change work-obsessed culture and has its own reports backing up the claim that over-working can be dangerous. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board even just wrote about Americans needing to take time off, for real.
So, embrace the research (and have it handy to explain to any confused bosses) and apply it to your life, even if your office is far from France.