Tuesday 22 August 2017

Forcing us to switch off may be harder than the French think

Why blame the boss for emailing at midnight when we're still on our smartphones anyway, asks Eilis O'Hanlon

'Much of the dependency on technology is self-inflicted. We're
'Much of the dependency on technology is self-inflicted. We're "on" 24/7 by choice.' (stock photo)

The poet Philip Larkin imagined work as a toad, squatting on his life.

He didn't know the half of it. That was 1955. It was a golden age, if only he knew it. Now the toad follows you home and squats in the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, in the form of a smartphone, vibrating with notifications, uncaring of employment hours and the delicate work/life balance.

The French have had enough of it. From January 1, companies are required by law to negotiate with workers on ways to reduce the intrusion of their day jobs into their private lives, allowing them to switch off those damned smartphones at home and start relaxing instead.

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