Should you have the right to turn off your messaging — or your iPhone! — at the end of the workday?

Should you have the right to turn off your messaging — or your iPhone! — at the end of the workday?

During Talk Mobile we discussed the demands modern technology allowed on our lives — always on, always available, always accountable, always exhaustible. But is it sustainable? France is now wrestling with the issue, at least in narrow fashion. The Wall Street Journal:

The French pact between companies and workers, settled last week and awaiting government approval, amounts to a declaration of principle more than law. It gives certain technology-sector workers the right to stop using work tools such as email and smartphones after logging France's state-mandated maximum 13-hour day.

Germany also has some limited policies in place in limited areas. What do you think about the idea? Should your employer be limited by law or negotiated agreement to leave you alone when the workday is done?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Should you have the right to turn off your messaging — or your iPhone! — at the end of the workday?


Each job is different. We all are smart enough to decide if we are going work a job that requires on call availability. We are playing in the big boy sand box.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability. Common sense just isn't common.

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I think a lot has to be weighed in on this: Who does the phone belong to? Who pays the bill? Is it understood that the employee will be on call (police, medical, etc)? I am a government contractor for the court system and I have two phone numbers and one phone. My work line rolls to voice mail at the end of the day and is off until the next working morning. People working for the court system have my personal number for emergencies but I can only recall once in 7 years that someone has called me after hours and it was a genuine emergency. Now, my clients think they can call me any time of day or night. A time or two, my personal number has gotten out and I have fended off calls at all hours of the night or weekend. However, my coworkers understand that I will in no way handle any work business on my personal time because they expect the same in turn and there is no real emergency I can help anyone with.

Attitudes like that always surprise me;
".........understand that I will in no way handle any work business on my personal time".

While you are working if you EVER handle anything personal or that is not work related you need to consider a little more give.
I suspect you are paid for every single second that you are at work but I'll bet you don't work for every second you're paid.

Fine don't let them take advantage but jeez, I'd hate to have you in my employ from what I've heard from you so far, (albeit a small snippet).

Ah, you misunderstand and misrepresent a couple of things. First of all, I am a contract employee so more work = more $$$ for me. Second, "clients" are court ordered and must adhere to my schedule, which has been set for them a month in advance and doesn't include calling me at 10pm 5 days after they were scheduled to see me and to whine about why they didn't show. Otherwise, I don't step over a dollar for any reason. But, that can only happen during my working hours. My hours are not your traditional 40 per week and I am known and occasionally loathed by my wife for handling paperwork on my personal time if required to achieve goals. As for personal business at work, I will never sit here and say that I don't occasionally have to handle something personal but we are talking a sick kid at school or something similar, not talking Facebook or aimless surfing the Internet. I have been in corporate America before and poured plenty of blood and sweat to the tune of getting paid for 40 hours and literally working 60 or more and my phone still ringing or email blowing up while I'm having time with my family. All outside of what the job requirements were when I signed on. Work/life balance only works when it balances. Teetering to one side or the other is not balance. I will end with saying that I obviously don't know what type of business you manage or own but I can assure you having me on your team would = results. ;)

Absolutely! Too many companies these days expect too much and want to give too little in return in the way of personal time for family business. It's 2014 and we work more hours than ever in our divorce rates and everything else is a worse place than it is in many other countries. A lot of companies talk the talk but they fail to walk the walk.

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It must be a slow news day. I'm surprised there isn't a typical Mobile Nations poll associated with this... lol

This all depends on the job and its duties and responsibilities. Next topic...

Public safety, 24 hours a day. You may not be on call, but in an emergency when more people are needed, you will need to answer. How about retired part time workers, who depend on a message, or call to know there is work available? Like Rolf Hed stated, depends on the job.

Hell yes. The occasional call or email or text isn't a big deal. But in no way should there be any discussion on whether or not you can turn off that phone. Your work doesn't own you. Certain jobs demand the need for "on call". But that is an emergency type situation. Some corporations may need, occasionally, you to be on call for certain situations. The whole "never disconnected" lifestyle is going to destroy what past generations worked to build. Now it's more work for less pay. High demands with little compensation. The fact that this is an actual question blows my mind. You should be able to get ahead in this world without running yourself ragged and giving up your life to a job. Quality of work trumps quantity of hours. People have no patience anymore.