Softworks Blog

France Set to Pass New Law Giving Workers the Right to Ignore Work Emails Outside of Contracted Hours

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Thu, Feb 18, 2016

France is expected to pass a new law giving employees the right to ignore work emails outside of their contracted hours to help ease pressure and offer a healthier work-life balance. The “right to disconnect” legislation is being drawn up to protect workers from the risk of burn out, which is seen a growing concern in the age of smartphones and “permanent connectivity”. Workers will be able to disregard phone calls and emails from their bosses during evenings and weekends in an attempt to help them have more of a social life outside of the working week. Companies will have to ensure that their employees come under no pressure to look at work-related emails or documents on their devices. France already operates a strict 35-hour working week policy, with workers also enjoying six weeks paid holiday, as well as extremely generous sick leave.

This new law got Softworks thinking of ways in which all employees can achieve a healthy work-life balance. The term ‘work–life balance refers to a healthy balance between work and other aspects of our lives. Proactive work-life balance measures benefit not only the employees, but also employers. A poor balance between an employee’s work commitments and their other responsibilities can lead to stress, high absence and low productivity.


Try the five tips below to help you out:

  1. Make use of flexible working

Responsibilities and demands on your time that come from outside of your work life can make it unsuitable and undesirable to follow a rigid, conventional working model. This is often the case for parents with young children, but also applies to people in a wide range of other situations. Increasingly, flexible working is being seen as a useful alternative, allowing people to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still being committed to their careers.

In a recent survey conducted by, almost a quarter of jobseekers in Britain would prioritise flexibility over salary and career opportunities when applying for a new position.

  1. Create a schedule

Simply choose a day of the week to plan for the coming week. Make sure you include down time as well as meetings, work priorities, family and personal activities. Block off time on your calendar also, as this will help maximise your time, prevent meetings from being double booked and therefore decrease stress.

  1. Be efficient with your time at work

When we procrastinate, the tasks often grow in our minds until they seem insoluble. Start off by prioritising your workload and aiming to complete the most urgent and important tasks first. Aim to complete all tasks before the due date so there can be time to check for errors and solve any mistakes, if found. This will help reduce the level of stress in the workplace. Make sure you complete the first task or project before moving on to the next. You could give yourself a little reward upon completion of each large project, whether it is a five minute break or a walk to the nearby coffee shop. This will help motivate you to move on to the next job. The less time you spend procrastinating, the more time you can spend productively, or with friends and family.

  1. Make time for yourself

If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, clear off a small block of time on your schedule to truly disconnect. Whether is it talking a walk during your break or going to the gym after work – try and set aside at least an hour a week to do something for yourself. It is also important to try and fit in some exercise weekly. This will not only help you be healthier, it will also help you feel positive and happy by reducing stress.

  1. Embrace the off button

With so much technology and so many ways to stay plugged in to work after hours, it is important to allow our minds a break when we are doing other activities. Pretty much every piece of technology has an off button, so it is time to use it. This can be easier said than done so it is best to do it in phases:

  • Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table
  • When you are on holidays, be on holidays
  • Don’t bring your phone/tablet to the beach
  • Disable email/notifications on your phone
  • Distract yourself from looking up work emails after hours

By taking these tips in to account, we hope you will be able to find a healthy work-life balance in your workplace. Have a look at our white papers/guides and download our free guide - How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business.

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working