The Future of Work – The Wired-24-Hour-a-Day Employee: Where will it end?

Time to Adapt - ClockIn case you didn’t notice it, employees are now near-expected to be “on call” – or more accurately “on-email” and “on-text” – 24 hours a day. Yet this never-ending work schedule surely disturbs family life, vacations, and even needed sleep and relaxation. Is there no limit? Where-oh-where will it end?

In France, corporate representatives and labor unions have recently joined ranks to agree on a first-ever “obligation to disconnect from remote communications tools” that will give many employees 11 consecutive hours a day of daily “disconnected” time. The accord is expected to be passed into law later this year, to initially cover 250,000 designated workers.

In Germany, starting in 2011 Volkswagen agreed to turn off its Blackberry servers at the end of each workday. In 2013, the German Labor Ministry directed its supervisory staff not to contact employees outside office hours.

In both countries, it has been recognized that, as one corporate officer said, “If you don’t have employees who are in good health, your competitiveness is going to fail.” In neither country has this needed respite been the cause of stock market crashes or any noticeable breakdown in corporate activity.

In your daily work life, consider the value of putting that cell-phone – actually, my Samsung smart phone calls itself my “life companion” – down, turning it off, and placing it in a drawer, and otherwise giving yourself the down-time that every living thing needs.

The never-ending workday will never end, until you make it do so. Step by step, and little by little.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Print Article