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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Emails mean no holiday

Did you have a good Easter? Enjoy the long bank holiday? Did you get away anywhere good or just slob out at home?

Did you check your work emails?

Sadly, some bosses have come to expect this.

They like their workers to be ‘on’ all the time, keeping up to date with what is going on – or informing them of new information.

We Brits are among the worst for this.

We already top the Euro charts for missing lunch, eating at our desks and putting in most hours in at the office.

France has brought in rules to protect employees from work emails disturbing them outside office hours before 9am and after 6pm.

The deal between employers and unions states that employees will have to switch off work phones and avoid looking at work email – and firms cannot pressure staff to check their messages.

Now, you might expect this sort of attitude in France – the land of the strict lunch hour, a 35-hour working week and where retiring aged 60 is a human right. But the no email rule also operates in the economic powerhouse of Europe – Germany.

Back in 2011, Volkswagen agreed that their computer servers would stop sending emails 30 minutes after the end of employees’ shifts, only to restart half an hour before the person returned to work.

That move was followed by Germany’s labour ministry.

There are lots of people who need to stay ‘switched on’ for their work and I know lots of people who like to stay online for work during their downtime.

But the lines between when we are at work and are supposed to be at leisure are blurring and maybe the time is coming for something similar to be adopted over here.

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