France is one step closer to banning emails outside office hours

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Don't check that inbox.

There's a growing amount of evidence that constantly checking for emails and being on call around the clock is bad for our health (thanks a lot, smartphones). Authorities in France are so worried about levels of worry that they're proposing a ban on business-related emails outside of office hours.

That means no more emailing your sales report at 3am in the morning or even getting back to the head of accounts at a quarter past 6. This week the French government passed a bill that puts the idea one step closer to becoming law.

Under the proposed guidelines, companies of 50 people or more would have to come up with a charter of good conduct: a set of rules that included specific times in the evenings and at weekends when staff would be banned from sending or receiving emails.

A dog's life

"Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work," Socialist MP Benoit Hamon told the BBC. "They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash - like a dog. [Electronic messages] colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down."

Not everyone agrees that the email ban is such a good idea and some resent the government intervention. It could also be difficult to implement - it's possible that workers will simply switch to different tools or methods to stay 'on the clock'.

The bill now goes to the French Senate, where it will be put under further scrutiny before being sent back to the National Assembly to be made legally enforceable. If you're working in France, better clear your work inbox as quickly as you can.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.