If you’re anything like me, the highlight of your day is finally getting home after work and being able to slip out of your dress clothes and into some sweats. While I may take enjoyment in switching from work to home mode, others may find it hard to completely disconnect from work. This is because new technology, such as our smartphones and tablets, allow for a constant interaction with work-related emails. This may cause the stress from your workday to last well into the evening. Now, a new French law has attempted to end work-related emails after 6 p.m. The law was passed in an effort to protect French workers’ precious down-time, but recent studies suggest this law may also protect their health.
According to Fast Company, labor unions noticed that bosses were able to breach on employees’ home life well after working hours through emails on smartphones. Due to this, employers’ federations and unions have signed a new and completely legally binding agreement that will require staff to switch off their phones after 6 p.m. “Employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones — or any other kind of malevolent intrusion” of their nationally mandated free time, The Guardian reported.
There have been many studies to help prove the importance of disconnecting from technology after work is finished. Based on a 2011 study from Bowling Green State University, psychological detachment from work during non-work time is important for employees’ recovery and health. It helps them to disassociate and recover from work demands. According to a Forbes article on the study, ineffectiveness to disconnect and mentally recharge from your work could lead to increased hostile behavior and, ultimately, more relationship problems. “If working couples don’t recuperate from their job stress while at home, they would be likely to fall in a spiral of lost resources,” Young Ah Park, a researcher on the study, told Forbes.
Not only does heavy smartphone use affect a worker’s psychology, it can also disrupt their sleep pattern, according to a study done by the University of Gothenberg in Sweden. The study was conducted on 4,100 heavy smartphone users. Results found that intensive mobile phone and computer use put individuals at a greater risk of sleep disturbances, along with increased stress levels and depression symptoms. The study also offered a simple solution to this problem though; take a break from technology. “This means taking breaks, taking time to recover after intensive use and putting limits on your availability,” Sara Thomée, a researcher in the study, explained in a press release.
Encourages Bad Manners
A paper written by two professors and a graduate student from the University of Maryland found that after a short period of cell phone use, people were less likely to partake in "pro-social" behavior. In other words, using a cell phone can make you rude. Researchers felt that the reason for this was that a cell phone made users feel more connected. Therefore, they were less likely to try and connect with those around them. “The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong,” Rosellina Ferraro, the study’s author, told Time.
Park Y, Fritz C, Jex SM. Relationships between work-home segmentation and psychological detachment from work: the role of communication technology use at home. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 2011
Thomée S, Härenstam A, Hagberg M. Mobile phone use and stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression among young adults- a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health. 2011