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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!

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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