The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

September 11, 2018

Banning Work Emails Outside Office Hours: The Conversation

A 2017 study found that the average worker spent an average of eight hours a week sending emails outside of work. The average worker also checks their email or chat every 7.5 minutes. Legislative measures have been put in place across the world to limit the stress and detriment caused by overworking. Particularly France, where workers at companies with 50 or more employees are empowered to negotiate the responsibility to check emails outside of standard working hours.

There have been talks about introducing the ban to New York City’s five boroughs whereby businesses failing to abide by the rule would face hundreds of dollars in fines. Opinion is very much divided on the matter. Ultimately, however, the motive behind the bill’s introduction is simply to “protect employees from retaliation when they choose to disconnect,” according to NYC councilman Rafael Espinal.

Working long hours has been linked to decreasing mental and physical health. Society’s inability to switch off has detrimental effects that are so unsustainable, life expectancy has drastically been shortened for overworked professionals. The emergence of overworking has stemmed from a competitive climate in the workforce. The idea that if I am not accessible 24/7, someone else will be and they will be more successful and valuable to the employer.

Opposition to the ban employs the argument that traditional work timetables don’t exist given that companies work with other organizations in various time zones. Furthermore, a ban is difficult to enforce and perhaps having government authorities intervene is not the answer to the culture of overworking staff.


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