Work to live, not live to work, as the saying goes. Something that the US has a pretty difficult time understanding, but France: no. The French just passed a law that makes it illegal to answer work emails past 6 p.m. C’est si bon. Pas so bon for us workaholics who reside on American sod.
Now in addition to their 35-hour work week (put into practice in 1998), France has introduced rules to protect about a million employees working in the digital and consultancy sectors. The deal signed between employers federations and unions says that anything outside of typical 9-6 hours is a no-go, no-engage. Which means, everyone in France will actually be able to sit down, eat a meal, and not have to answer just one more email. Employees will have to switch off work phones and avoid looking at work email. Moreover, firms cannot pressure staff to check messages. If only.
Though this seems a difficult law to enforce, if there’s a man do to it, the aptly named Michel de La Force, chairman of the General Confederation of Managers, is him. De la Force has said that “digital working time” will have to be measured, and that emailing outside of office hours will only be allowed in “exceptional circumstances.”
Every personal assistant in Hollywood just packed their suitcase and boarded Air France.
Think of how many IRL conversations you could have if the US took similar measures. Don’t worry, it’s never going to happen.