Why we got obsessed with France's fake email ban.

We need better boundaries between work and play.

You probably saw a bunch of these headlines cropping up recently: “France bans work e-mail after 6 p.m.

French law makes weekend work emails illegal…

France Is About to Make After-Hours Work Email Illegal


France Has Banned Work Emails on the Weekends, And So Should We

Even if you didn’t buy that, more grounded stories were promising something that still sounded pretty great.

Allegedly, French President Francois Hollande’s administration had introduced new labor legislation that would give workers the “right to disconnect” after office hours.

According to the reports, companies with more than 50 employees would be legally required to draft “policies of conduct” that stipulate when work email could be sent or answered after normal business hours (which, for most people, is nights, weekends, and vacations).

To put it simply, after a French employee finished a full day at the office, their employers couldn’t require them to read or respond to any work emails until they got back to their desks the next day.

Can you imagine the freedom!?

GIF via "Broad City."

The story went viral for months, but it turns out it wasn’t 100% correct.

Apparently, the law only applies to employees who work hourly, and it doesn’t even kick in until after they’ve worked a 13-hour shift. That’s a far cry from “banning work emails after 6 p.m.”

The dream of a government really tackling work-life balance slowly died, and The Economist even issued this eulogy on April 14.

There’s a bigger question, though: Why did this French “right to disconnect” policy strike such a nerve with Americans?

Benoit Hamon’s quote for the BBC explains it well:

"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant. 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 colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

Sound like you or anyone you know?

Right now, Americans are working more hours than ever before.

A 2014 Gallup poll found that white-collar workers employed full-time in the U.S. were working an average of 47 hours per week, dwarfing the office time of their peers in every other industrialized nation, including Japan!

Another poll that same year found that a third of these workers frequently checked their email after hours, too, so their long workdays didn’t end even after leaving their cubicles.

Meanwhile, employees in France enjoy a 35-hour week with sweet, sweet overtime pay guaranteed if they work more than that (although exceptions to this rule were just legalized).

How I imagine life in France.

With smartphones and email, we can now be productive even after we leave the office.

But this revolutionary level of freedom is also eroding protective boundaries ... boundaries we didn’t even know we needed.

Jennifer M. Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, studies the impact that email has on American work culture.

She says: “The trend toward mobile means that communications are tied to people regardless of their location. The workforce is now always on because of the connectivity of devices and people. Without guidance from the government, or employers, people could technically work around the clock. Humans are giving away more and more of their time for free because of technology.”

And tech entrepreneurs like Alex Moore, the founder of Boomerang, are finding out just how badly people want to take their schedules and personal time back from email.

He explains, "We've had dozens of customers write in to let us know that they signed up for Boomerang to try to implement [their own 'right to disconnect' policies].”

GIF via Rihanna's "Work."

Plus, it turns out that the efficiency and convenience of email might actually be slowing down our productivity.

Even with all that extra time we’re spending working (and burning out), we’re not getting very much done.

According to Diane Passage, a life coach based in New York City and fan of the French measure, “When a work-day has flexible parameters, there is a lack of urgency to get tasks completed by a reasonable hour. [However,] there is improved productivity when deadlines are in place, and there is a sense of accomplishment when deadlines are met.”

Americans clearly yearn for the “right to disconnect,” or at least some good boundaries between work and play.

But for now, it may be up to each of us to work on attaining it in lieu of government intervention.

So channel that joie de vivre and remember that your time outside of work should be yours and yours alone.

Vive la révolution!

Family
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family