Company bans after-work emails to improve employee work-life balance

BOSTON (CBS) — Most workers in 2018 know the feeling of being constantly connected to work.

“I was always on.”

“I’d get home, I’d check.”

“I was always answering email.”

“I’d check before I go to bed.”

“On weekends, as well.”

“I would get up in the morning and check.”

Physically leaving the office at the end of the day doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the workday since many people head home and log right back in. But, for employees at healthcare consulting firm Vynamic, unplugging after work isn’t just a suggestion — it’s company policy.

In 2012, Vynamic CEO and Founder, Dan Calista decided to try it out, “at first it seemed like, can we really do this?” It’s called ZZZ-mail, as in catching some zzz’s. No company work emails are allowed from 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM or anytime on weekends. That’s right — no emails. “It’s not a work curfew. Work when you want to work. If you have some flexibility or a burst of inspiration or creativity, work when you want to work. Just don’t hit send on an email,” explained Calista.

Employees thought the idea was too good to be true. But that skepticism quickly gave way to a new appreciation of work-life balance. “I feel, on the weekends now, I wouldn’t even think to look at my phone to see if there was a work email,” said Vynamic employee, Jason Caine. And his colleagues agree.

“Because I’m not checking emails as often, I run out of things to do on my phone,” explained Ivan Cadiente. And Mary Virzi’s new habits have extended to her husband, as well, “we make more of an effort, especially at home and especially on the weekends, to put our phones away.”

The idea of a ban on after-hour emails could be spreading. Last year, France required companies to come up with email limits for workers. And a New York City lawmaker has proposed similar legislation called the “Disconnecting From Work” bill.

“I don’t believe it needs to be legislated, ” said Calista, “I believe companies will come to find that their teams are more productive if they create a certain boundary.” The key to any company-wide email ban is enforcement. No one at Vynamic gets in trouble for ignoring the policy, but they will hear about it as soon as they get to work.

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