My after work hours tend to be "mine". By that I mean it's to do with as I please, no work, all play (although with the obvious adult chores).
I tend to get home around 18:30, if I leave work at 16:30. Obviously the later I leave, the later I get home. Sometimes this is 19:30, sometimes later. If I want to get 8 hours of sleep, that means going to sleep at 21:30. 3 hours of "me time".
In France, they're debating a new law to give workers the right to disconnect. Employers would have to negotiate with employees when and how they were contactable outside of working hours, if they were contactable at all. The only catch; there's no legal enforcement in place and the thinking is that any issues would spread by word of mouth, as is possible on services like Glassdoor.
Positives include the ability to know you won't be contacted by work, which in turn should reduce stress, which as the article points out, is increasing as the ability to cut ties with the office are decreasing. The opportunity many young start ups (and slowly, older companies) are providing to employees to work from home as a bonus, as well as giving employees laptops and phones with which to work, makes the barrier between work and home even more difficult to keep up.
I have been able to work from home for the majority of my working life (bar one notable exception) and it's both a boon and a bane. In the one company which didn't allow work from home for my job role, the biggest benefit was that I turned up at 08:30, left at 17:00 and I was done. All the other jobs had the potential to require work either outside of working hours (from home or even in the office) or longer hour.
In my current role, for the most part I've been able to keep to my hours, although there have been exceptions. I've managed to push the flexible working to my advantage, by enabling my personal development (to which we are encourage to spend ~2 hours per day) to occur on the train. I can use a service like Udemy to download lectures and practice questions and learn on the train home. I can also reply to emails and carry on working on my return journey as I have a laptop and mobile phone given to me to enable my work from any location.
However, I have found the only method to ensure no distractions from the office is to either turn off my mobile phone or disable/delete the work specific services meaning the only method of communication is by someone text messaging or calling me. Over a 1-day period, I almost never switch off, but over a 2-week period, I ensure I get to switch off.
Having a law which could ensure and enshrine the right to personal time would be a massive boon to me, and I believe workers like me. I understand that nobody wants to come back to an emergency situation that wasn't able to be resolved because you weren't around, but at the same time, if you were to get hit by the number 10 bus, it's more than likely the office would have to find a way to deal with the situation without you.
Nobody is indispensible. You might be the best person at your job, but someone else will be younger, smarter and all-round better than you, given time.
I'm completely on board with enshrining my right to personal time. Are you?
Headline image from The Motion Machine