Balancing act: French ban on after-hours email raises work-life questions

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  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 18, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    Terra... no one in France is saying you can't look at your email, or respond to a voice mail on your phone. What a silly notion. What they are saying is your employer can't make you monitor your email at 10 pm. They can't insist you check your voice mail or respond to calls on Sunday. I am so amused by those who love to take these things to their silly extremes.

    I get that the post above spent 2 years as a missionary in France.... but I can assure you that he did not spend time with typical working French. I lived and worked there for 5 years. These over generalities do a discredit to everyone. Just like a missionary here teaching in the states rarely spends much of their time working with the upper end of society. It is the nature of the work where you spend more of your time working with people in more distressed circumstances. It is just how it is.

    France has is much maligned by American ignorance. But ask the people up in Seattle if their competitors at Airbus are "lazy". Ask the people GE if those at Schneider are slackers. Silliness.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    April 18, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    Yes, we could regulate email. We could create a whole new Federal Department of Email Regulation. (The perfect job creation machine!) The NSA computers could be used to classify email and then monitor our actions to make sure it is not opened before or after a hour of the day. If you do, they could come and take your lap-tops, desktops and smart phones away from you and MAKE you not look.

    Or, one could simply decide not to look at or respond to email outside of work hours.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 16, 2014 3:07 p.m.

    To "gmlewis" it is easier to be poor in Europe because they give you so much to be poor.

    However, read the article "How Poor Are America's Poor? Examining the "Plague" of Poverty in America" in Forbes.

    Here you can find reasonably priced housing, if you look for it. I recently was living in a Duplex paying about $800/month for 1100 sqft. The place was big and quite cheap for its size. There are cheaper options, but not in as nice of a neighborhood. You can get 2 bedroom apartments for $565/month. I wouldn't say that housing is a problem.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    April 16, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    I have seen in many countries that it is easier to be "poor" there than here, because everything in America comes at a "middle class" cost. We just don't have options for cheap housing, transportation, food, etc. This, combined with our love affair for "new and improved" makes living on a modest income unbearable.

  • RedShirtUofU Andoria, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    Did any of you see the reports that have been done that show that the average European lives about as well as the poor people do in the US? Isn't it great that in Europe the middleclass is equal to our poor. Now, do we laugh at Europe while living a lifestyle they would consider wealthy, or do we lower our standards so that we are equal to Europe?

  • rj Moss, Norway
    April 16, 2014 2:33 a.m.

    As an American living and working in Norway for the last 10 years, I'm conflicted by the work ethic I grew up with and the one in the society of which I am a part. I get frustrated by my Norwegian colleagues' general aversion to work, yet at the same time I enjoy having more time off than my overworked American counterparts. Unfortunately, there seems to be no happy medium.

    If I had to pick one, I would stick with the European model for health reasons. But you do surrender some rights in the process. Your perspective on the matter depends on what's more important to you. Is it health and well-being? Productivity? Pride of having a "strong work ethic"? Family time? Most people can't have it all...

  • Archer of Paradise Oklahoma City, OK
    April 15, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    I spent two years of my life in France and fell in love with the people and country. However, they are generally a lazy people (not everyone but as a populous). While the work place should be regulated, labor rights are out of control there. There is a strike every other day because of unhappy workers. They are a pleasure-seeking society and yet top the list of anti-depressant consumption per capita in the whole world--you draw your own conclusion. You have to give up a lot of rights if you would like labor regulation in the U.S. like the French.

  • Idaho Dad Pocatello, ID
    April 15, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    I work a flexible schedule and interact with employees around the world. No such ban would work for me. Moreover, actions like those in France may serve to push the workday from other time zones into theirs, making it worse for overseas coworkers of the French employees.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    France, Italy, and Spain (which have a similar work ethic) are plagued by underemployment and lack of innovation. This isn't something to envy.

  • MHughes Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    Despite all the nay saying I think the French and other European countries have it right. Quality of life is increased far more by the hours spent with friends and family than it is by hours spent at work or by the amount of money and material possessions one has. Americans have it backward. Work is a necessary part of life but we should work to live and not live to work. We would all be much happier if we spent less time at work.