Is Banning Work Emails Outside Business Hours A Good Idea?

Is Banning Work Emails Outside Business Hours A Good Idea?

We’re constantly told that we should strive to maintain a good work-life balance to avoid feeling burnt out. But talk is cheap and many of us are still hooked on checking our work emails at home or when we’re out and about. Should there be a mandate to ban people from replying to business emails at home? France seems to think so.

Emails image from Shutterstock

The French Government is moving ahead with a proposal to make companies with more than 50 employees draw up a charter of good conduct which will involve preventing workers from responding to work emails outside of business hours. This might sound drastic but constantly being tethered to work, even if it’s just digitally, can cause added stress and can even put personal relationships at risk.

I’ll admit that I have the bad habit of checking my work emails everywhere, even at the dinner table with my family. Yes, my parents were not impressed that I was busy tapping away at my phone replying to an email and ignoring them. It’s a problem I’m trying to fix.

A French politician from the Socialist Party told the BBC:

“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash — like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails— they colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

While I do believe we should ease off on checking and replying to work emails at home, a blanket ban is a bit too drastic. Sometimes I want to respond to emails so I can get the task out of the way and free up time to do other things at work the next day. On the other hand, the ban would prevent overbearing managers, colleagues and clients from harassing you about work-related matters after hours.

What are your thoughts on banning work emails outside of business hours? Let us know in the comments.

[Via BBC]


  • It comes down to expectations. I dont think there’s anything wrong with sending an email outside of work hours – provided you don’t expect a reply before morning.

  • The French are ahead of the rest of us when it comes to work-life balance. I agree that dealing work-related email should be confined to normal working hours.

    If something is really that urgent then a phone call puts the responsibility on the caller to justify the need for out-of-hours work

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