It’s Almost 6:00 … Better Check Your Email!

While watching the morning news today, I learned about this story.

If you don’t want to check out the link, this new French law does not allow companies to expect employees to check or answer email after 6:00pm. About 1 million French workers are covered by this law and it is geared particularly at the tech sector. I thought the story was interesting and then realized, when I checked first thing in the morning, that I had been spared the usual handful of overnight emails (it was only upon getting to work that I learned there was a glitch with the phone provider and that Mentor/TEAM had not been taken over by a French firm…c’est la vie!).

I can understand the allure from the employee side of things (particularly in a country where 5 weeks’ vacation and a 35 hour work week are already mandated) and the obvious difficulties this would place on companies who have come to expect workers to be available after-hours. I think, however, that our connected society actually looks upon after-hours work as a form of flex time.

When you think about it, our students would also find the concept of shutting down their “job” as students after 6:00 a monumental shift. They have some daily homework, various projects and long-term studying schedules that occupy their evenings and weekends but it is incorporating these duties into the rest of their lives that is part of the process of time management. We have some VERY busy girls and boys in our schools who take part in extra-curriculars, volunteer in community organizations, take music lessons and participate in sports (sometimes all of those things!) AND they maintain and exceed their academic goals as well. Not to be outdone, I know that our teachers are also involved in all these activities (both for themselves and their own kids) and they not only make it all work, but successfully so. Students and teachers who get time during the school day can choose to get a head start on some homework or some marking or they can socialize with their friends; it is all part of time management and prioritization. I see this in both my daughters (one of whom still uses her version of a homework book in university!).

I know personally that I can’t plan for everything that might happen in my workday. If it is 4:00 and I have three hours of work to do, I want the freedom to go home (take advantage of the sunshine for some yard work, have dinner with the family) and put off work until later in the evening. And with that, I am heading home to see if the snow has melted in the back yard so I can rake! I can check my emails tonight…

PS: Remember the old school video I mentioned last week? Well, here it is…we hope you enjoy it!

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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