After work emails - Maxicours

After work emails

Objectif

Découvrir un aspect de la notion « Espace privé et espace public ».

Points clés
  • Les nouvelles technologies (téléphones mobiles, ordinateurs portables, tablettes, etc.) prennent une part de plus en plus importante dans la vie de tous les jours, notamment dans la vie d’un travailleur ou d’une travailleuse.
  • Malgré les avantages (prendre de l’avance sur le travail du lendemain, être au courant des dernières réunions et derniers évènements), l’utilisation de ces nouvelles technologies en dehors des heures de travail peuvent engendrer des risques pour la santé (stress, burnout).
  • C’est pourquoi certaines villes et certains pays, dont la France, a imposé un droit à la déconnexion, afin de préserver la vie privée.
Pour bien comprendre

Connaitre le monde du travail et ses exigences

1. Introduction

People have become so connected to their mobile phones or computers in the past twenty years that they cannot live without their “new friends” and this new kind of friend becomes part of their daily life. They help them to do so many things: take photos, surf the web, send/receive text messages, check emails, etc. This is on this last possibility that we will focus principally here.

How many emails do we receive every day? How many do we send? Tens? Hundreds? A lot anyway! What did not exist a few years ago has now invaded our lives. So much that even in the domain of work we cannot do without them. It is such a gain of time and money! But we may wonder if it is normal to receive work emails after working times. There must be advantages and drawbacks, let’s see!

2. The advantages and drawbacks of after-work emails
a. The advantages

Some people like working at home and they do not mind receiving emails, because they can take a little advance on their work, especially if they cannot go to work the day after, or if they are sick.

Others argue that receiving emails when they are not at work enables them to know what is happening in their company, especially if the place they work in is quite big and the boss rarely sees them. They are in constant contact with their work and they have all the information they need to know. Of course it is not necessary if you have two or three workmates only, but imagine a workplace filled with thousands of people!

b. The drawbacks

But the time spent typing or reading these emails is not included in their working hours, consequently they have less free time at home for their family or hobbies, both being very important to cut off work. There must be a boundary between work and home.

That is the reason why more and more countries or cities (France, Germany, New York, etc.) argue that employees should not receive emails after work and they implement an after-work email policy which bans the sending of emails between 7 pm and 7 am (since 2014 in France). They call it the right to disconnect. Moreover, emails are very addictive as people tend to check their emails as soon as they arrive, dropping what they were doing a few seconds before. But why have people let work interfere in their private life?

80% of workers feel stress at work so it was high time governments took the right decisions about the problem. Nevertheless, some companies keep putting pressure on their employees if they refuse to check or send emails after working hours. They can be demoted or refused advancement.

3. The evolution of work

Today, everything goes faster and faster. So does work! If you want to be competitive, have the best prices, if you do not want to miss an opportunity, you must be reactive and you cannot delay a decision until the following day. You must make a decision immediately and sometimes you have to warn your workmates about this decision. And of course everything has been done to make people react as quickly as possible. They have the tools (computers, telephones, etc.) to convey an idea and they use them.

But unfortunately they do not seem to know that they are losing their freedom as work is taking precedence over their life. Worse than that, their health is at risk as they may suffer from stress if the charge of work is too loud, which in turn can cause absenteeism or labour turnover. It is so serious that burnout has just been recognised as an official medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization. And in the end, nobody wins. The company will lose money moreover the employee will have to recover from email overload.

4. Conclusion

To conclude we can say that we are being trapped by a negative spiral which could take us even further if we do not react soon. Why not return to our parents’ daily routine: 8 hours devoted to work, 8 hours for sleeping and 8 hours for the rest (hobbies, family life, etc.). Do people not need to respect a balance to work better (and to live better, too)?

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