When E-mail kills…
October 7, 2009
My dear friend Guy sent me a link to a story on InternetNews the other day. It addressed the spate of suicides and suicide attempts at France Telecom (a key brand of Orange) in the last year (22 with 13 attempts). The CFO of the company, Gervais Pellissier, admitted that 24/7 connectivity, thanks to contemporary hand-held devices, has increased employee stress levels exponentially. The very telecommunications industry that spawned our hyperconnectivity is the very one to meet its own demise.
“When you were an average employee in a big corporation 15 years ago, you had no mobile phone or no PC at home. When you were back home, work was out,” he said.
Work was out. Done. Finished. And now people are finishing themselves off as they realize twenty-four hours a day is not enough. Somewhere along the line, people forgot that every business is comprised of people, not just machines.
I claim we have an abundance of time, but we need the heads of corporations, such as France Telecom, to realize there is also a limit to our availability. Just because I have 24 hours a day doesn’t mean the company owns it all.
Ironically, France has the most vacation days in the world. Yet people are ill-equipped to handle the expectations our 24/7 world has placed upon them. We need to return to a state of civility and normalcy in which our time-off is our own.
Just because we can answer the phone at midnight doesn’t mean we have to. I plead for more sanity in our workplace.
Enough is enough.