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After hours email – yes or no?

After hours email – yes or no? (Last Updated On: May 27, 2016)

News of an alleged work email ban has been sweeping through France recently, with the supposed new law stating no employees were to check their work emails after 6pm.

The English speaking media went on a field day, with one report adeptly named “No after-work e-mails please. French ordered to ignore the boss after 6pm”, causing the French Minister to tweet a denial to the supposed ban.

Whilst no such law actually exists, there is a labour agreement signed on 1 April by unions and the employees who work in high-tech and consultancy industries. This agreement covers roughly 250,000 employees whose contracts are not based on hours, but rather how many days worked. This means the standard maximum hours an employee can realistically work does not apply to them. The agreement includes an obligation that employees must disconnect any communication tools, but only after working a 13 hour day and did not refer to a 6pm cut off.

The false ban does throw an interesting light over whether or not employees should disengage from work after their working day is complete. It is a common belief that employees who work longer hours will be more successful. However, while this may be true for a while, even the most ambitious employees may turn disengaged and unproductive after some time if they are constantly thinking about work.

According to a recent survey by Right Management, 36% of employees surveyed admitted they receive after hours emails from their boss. 9% said they have been emailed while on vacation and 6% said they were regularly received emails on the weekends.

There is no right or wrong answer to whether work emails should or should not be used outside of normal working hours. However, your expectations should always be clear on when you expect your email to be actioned. When it is necessary to send an email outside of normal working hours, ensure your expectations on when it must be addressed is clearly communicated to the recipient. For example if you are emailing an employee who is on vacation just to keep them in the loop, make sure it is clear that you do not expect a response.

Every workplace is different, with some having a 9 to 5 policy and some with a culture which works around the clock. This is why it is important to ensure you have an email policy in place which sets out when work emails should be used. Employsure’s team of friendly specialists can assist with any questions you may have regarding email use for your workplace. Call us today on 1300 651 415.

Sourced from the Economist and Forbes

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