Germany to Ban Email to Colleagues at Night

 According to this article in Metro, Germany is planning on making emails to coworkers after 6pm illegal.

The advent of smartphones has allowed us to be plugged in and able to read work emails around the clock.

But research suggests that this is adding an extra five hours to the average office worker’s day.

That is why Germany is considering bringing in new laws that will make it illegal to email colleagues after 6pm.

The research, commissioned by the German minister for Labour, Andrea Nahles, also found a relationship between workers having constant access to their emails and poor mental health.

‘There is an undeniable relationship between constant availability and the increase of mental illness,’ Nahles told the Rheinische Post.

New legislation limiting worker’s access to their emails outside office hours could come into force in 2016, which would make Germany the first country in the world to pass such a law, although France passed a similar legislation this year requiring workers to turn off their smartphones after 6pm.

I grew up in Germany, a country that is proud of the fact that it controls what its people can and cannot do and when. For instance:

  • There is a law that controls when bakers can bake: Nachtbackverbot (prohibition of baking at night).
  • There is a law that controls when stores are open: Ladenschlußgesetz (law for closing stores)

Now the German government doesn’t like it that people email each other after normal business hours, and business hours being what the government determines they should be.

It is idiotic regulation like that, probably welcomed by a majority of the people, that hobbles industry, ensures that startups are just about impossible to succeed, squelches the entrepreneurial spirit and certainly results in Germany being ever more obscure and irrelevant on the world stage.

Rather than educating people to use technology wisely, the government plays Big Brother and tells people what can be done. If a person is stressed out about reading emails at night, why don’t they just stop reading? That would make too much sense. They rather demonize the writers. Bad, bad, productive, industrious workers!

Make no mistake about that: Brazil, India, Korea and China aren’t gagging their people and keeping them from emailing each other about work whenever it strikes their fancy. Those are the places where industry will boom, innovation will flourish and growth will abound in the coming century.

This is one of the main reasons why I am not a German anymore. It has always bothered me how the government controls everyone and everything, from when they can work, what they can do, who they can marry, what names they can give their children, and how they can modify their cars (they cannot).

I left early and have spent my life as an entrepreneur, something I could not have done in Germany.

By regulation like that, they are ensuring that the best, brightest and most driven continue to leave the country, for places that appreciate their contribution more, places like Silicon Valley, New York, and — Beijing.

Nice knowing you, Germany. I won’t email you after 6 pm. Do you feel better now?

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