3 Ways Countries and Companies Are Making the Work Day Work For You

Apr 10, 2014 4:37pm
GTY man eating breakfast using smartphone jt 140410 16x9 608 3 Ways Countries and Companies Are Making the Work Day Work For You

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What if there was a way to make your work day work for you?

For people who have trouble unplugging from their smartphones and can’t stop themselves from working on weekends, here are three innovative ways some companies — and even countries — are stepping in to help employees find work-life balance.

Illegal to Answer Work Email After 6 p.m.

For an estimated 1 million workers in the technology and consultancy sectors in France, responding to work emails after 6 p.m. and before 9 a.m. is now illegal. Yes, illegal.

Under the labor and union agreement, employees must disconnect and employers must make sure their work force does not feel pressure to continue working digitally into the evening, the Guardian reported.

Pat Katepoo, a flexible work expert and founder of Work Options, said she was surprised France passed a law about disconnecting after work but said “boundaries are a good idea.”

“The idea is to break that cycle of responsiveness of where I am emailing you at 10pm and you respond,” Katepoo told ABCNews.com. “Then we have established a norm that perpetuates itself.

Employees in the United States can make the French rule work for them by establishing a norm at their within their working group, Katepoo said.

“At a team level, people can say, ‘Let’s quit at 7′ or ‘Let’s keep Sunday sacred,’” she said.

The 6-Hour Work Day

The city council in Gothenburg, Sweden announced this week it will try six-hour work days for its staff on the premise that after six hours, productivity diminishes.

The shorter work day is just one hour less than their Swedish counterparts, many of whom enjoy a 35-hour work week.

“In my world, everyone would work part-time,” Katepoo said. “I do subscribe to the notion that sometimes fewer hours mean more productivity.”

However, she called the Swedish experiment a “one-size fits all model” and said the style might not work for everyone.

The 4-Day Work Week

The four day work week, comprised of ten hour days, has gained popularity at a slew of technology companies.

The state of Utah even tried it but scrapped it in 2011 after the savings never fully materialized and residents complained about not having access to services on Fridays.

“The key is not to have the employer impose particular schedules,” Katepoo said, adding that some people find working “four tens” to be “exhausting.”

“The key is for employers to offer different ways to work so people have work options that fit the way they work best,” she said.

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