you had some strong opinions on this one! 😳
(this is going to be a two-parter)
Well that little Instagram story opened quite the can of worms!
Before Christmas, I posted a link to a BBC News article, stating that Portugal was banning bosses from texting or emailing their staff after-hours.
These new laws are being dubbed “right to rest” and include work from home rights, and, as stated above, the banning of contact via text or email out of hours (if you are an organisation of 10 staff or more).
Now, I have my opinions on this, and we’ll get to that, but let’s start with yours. I did a poll on Instagram and my followers said that they thought …
✅ 75% of those responded to say it was a brilliant idea
💬74% said that texting outside of hours was not okay
📧 51% said that emailing outside of hours was not okay
First things first. I don’t know all the ins and outs of these laws, how and what they exactly stipulate.
But, it seems that a great deal of you do not like to be contacted by your workplace out of your contracted hours. This is probably, (I don’t know this, I am surmising) rooted in the abuse of out of hours contact, expectation to ‘always’ be on, and the kind of controlling communication methods that some employers use. I found the feedback you gave me very insightful and gave me food for thought.
I have always had my work emails on my phone. This is my choice. But, before I worked for myself, I remember getting a cryptic Friday night email once (I didn’t actually work Fridays) asking me to go to my bosses’ office at 8am on Monday morning. No more detail than this. Me being me (and for other valid reasons) I assumed that I was in trouble, had got something wrong and was going to start the week with a difficult conversation. I lost hours of peace over that.
As with most things, legislation doesn’t really allow for nuance, for flexibility, for real life. And, in summary, I personally think that banning all work comms out of hours, because of abuse and advantage, is a shame.
We need to recognise that a great deal of us, for a whole host of legitimate reasons, don’t work the exact 9-5 rhythm everyday. Now, I imagine this legislation is in place to protect those that do. But, in this increasingly flexible day and age, there is a growing need for us to recognise that we are being given increasing freedom to plan our day. A benefit of the learning from lockdown means that many can now take their kids to school, and start their day a little later. So, that time will need to be made up, perhaps in an evening. Or, you might need to go to the orthodontist with your child (see my post on this ordeal) and then have several HOURS to make up in the evening, usually the unfinished admin and emails and planning. So, the set hours for many of us are now unworkable. This does not mean that we are always on: but it is a recognition that we may not be able to boundary our exact working day.
Now, next week (I don’t want this email to be too long — you have enough to do today) I will give some practical suggestions as to how we can help one another (whether you are the leader or the employee) but for now, I would love to know your thoughts and stories on this emotive topic? How do you work this out? Where has it gone wrong for you? Have you got stories of awful out of hours comms? Or some great suggestions for how your boss has done this well? I’ll feed this into next week’s ideas.