Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Should your boss be banned from contacting you?


Reports earlier this week suggested that France has imposed a law banning employers from emailing their staff out of hours.

But before you book that Air France flight and start forwarding your mail, The Local clarified today that there is no law, or even an unofficial ban.

The new measures are in fact an agreement among certain unions to protect around 200,000 workers who work long and unsociable hours.

With Britain already observing a 40-hour work to France's 35, it's not surprising reports of the new employee "law" swept through the press, but would the UK actually benefit from such a move?

Recent research conducted by scientists from Washington University found that people who check their work emails in the evening after work not only suffer from disturbed sleep, but feel tired and disengaged when they're back in the office.

Another study by Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow showed that workers who were made to disconnect from work-related content on their smartphones and tablets felt more satisfied at work and and home and became more enthusiastic and efficient at work.

Jane's woodland jogs improved when the boss stopped calling and let her get on with playing Candy Crush

In 2011 an arrangement by Volkswagen in Germany saw the car firm stop its servers from sending emails to some employees when they were off-shift.

The UK's Working Time Regulations don't take out-of-hours communications from employees into account, according to Trades Union Congress. But should they? Such a ban would be a blow against micromanaging bosses but could being out of the loop come 18:05 also be harmful to your career?

And would firms and employees actually observe the rules?

5 ways life might improve if contact was banned after 6pm:

1. No more CC

You've clocked off for the day but some of your colleagues haven't, and include you as an observer in a stream of back-and-forth emails about something you're not going to do anything about for 12 hours. There would be none of that if the Government banned work-related communication after 6pm.

2. 'Could you just...'

It's 18:o1 and you've got a table booked for dinner when an email drops in from your boss asking you to forward on some information for that new account. In the world free of after-work emails, there's no such thing as urgent.

3. No more Private Number/Texts/Voicemails

Unless you claim not to own a mobile, there really is no way to prevent your boss from being able to contact you at anytime they want with a work related request, be it to come in earlier, or even just a reminder it's your turn to buy the office biscuits.

4. A real holiday

You wouldn't be able to 'just check' there are no work-related emergencies occurring in your absence - it would be illegal.

5. One less account to deal with

As if flitting between Twitter and Facebook isn't enough to contend with, the Office Outlook icon is there, like a traffic accident you can't help looking at. A ban on work emails would mean you could disable the account, guilt-free, between the hours of 6pm and 9am.



30 horrible bosses


Is your boss a psycho?


Why we're spending work time on YouTube


The 'antisocial network' app that lets you avoid people


Discover the luxury of France’s secret film capital


Why 'beach' is a dirty word in France



This 'Very British Problems' Twitter account is all of us

"Best weekend activity: a really nice sitdown"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Oct 2016

13 Going on 30 is the latest film to get a musical makeover

by Amy Swales
24 Oct 2016

This streaming service is so boring it will send you to sleep

Forget Netflix and chill

by Harriet Hall
24 Oct 2016

Poldark slammed by women’s rights campaigners as “romanticising rape”

“It’s worse than if it had been a straightforward rape scene”

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016

The selfie vs. the group photo: which actually makes us happier?

Time for an Instagram break?

by Moya Crockett
24 Oct 2016

Backlash follows Wonder Woman’s appointment as UN ambassador

The move has been called 'reductive'

by Harriet Hall
24 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans scandalised by Berry and Hollywood news: “I am OUTRAGED”

"It makes me feel sick and empty inside"

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016

Meet the 'supermodel' dog whose hair is bewitching the internet

She probably has better hair than you

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Oct 2016

Male contraceptive pill (and nasal spray) could be here by 2021

Breakthrough “switches off sperm within minutes”

by Anna Pollitt
24 Oct 2016

Are you ready for Downton Abbey: The Musical?

One must attempt to ration one’s excitement

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016