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Updated: The French Move To Protect Workers From After-Hours Email

C'est la vie.

[Image: Flickr user Moyan Brenn]

Editor's note: The post below was immensely popular on our social networks today—clearly, this story hit a nerve with email-weary workers across America and the world. We wish to clarify some information in The Guardian report. French unions did not ban French employees from sending emails after precisely 6 p.m.—the agreement meant to protect some workers from too much after-hours work intrusion (and consequently, burnout) does not stipulate 6 p.m. as a hard stopping time for work-related emails. In addition, the agreement won't affect as many people asThe Guardian report suggested—about 200,000-250,000 workers will be affected by the rule, according to French media.

There are many ways to distance yourself from the crushing tidal wave that is your work inbox. You can, for instance, impose an email sabbatical, which is supposed to be good for your mental health. Or you can plow through all of your emails in one go with the savvy use of search filters.

Now, there's a new lifehack for dealing with email 24/7, and it might just be our favorite yet: Move to France. The Guardian reports that the country's workers unions just imposed a ban that forbids employees from attending to "work-related material on their computers or smartphones" after they clock out for the day:

Now employers' federations and unions have signed a new, legally binding labour agreement that will require staff to switch off their phones after 6pm. Under the deal, which affects a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors (including the French arms of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC), employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones —or any other kind of malevolent intrusion into the time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita.

Emphasis added. So, in addition to 35-hour work weeks, it is now frowned upon for the French workforce to tend to business once it's time to eat dinner. Germany's labor ministry has similar after-hour measures in place. Though it's unclear exactly how that will be enforced, it's a nice perk to have in any case. C'est la vie.