Can We Legislate Stress?

Do We Need an Anti-Stress Law?

Scales of Justice

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This week (August 6, 2014) “Germany’s Labour Minister [Guntram Schmeider] for its most populous state has called for an anti-stress law that would mean bosses could no longer contact their employees out of office hours, including by email.” According to The Social Democrats in last year’s elections campaigned, promising they would improve the “work-life balance” of German workers.

In her book EC Employment Law Catherine Barnard also points how there needs to be policy on this if Europe is to remain competitive.

When discussing the partnership as defined in the above book the Irish government offered the following, “Work related stress has been identified generally both in Ireland and at international levels, as a significant concern for both employees and employers. Stress can potentially affect any workplace, small or large in any field of activity, and can affect any employee irrespective of what form the employment contract or relationship takes.”

Do we need an anti-stress law? Please post your thoughts.


Is the Smartphone to Blame for the Increase in Stress?

“Schneider’s comments come as surveys show that employees are finding it harder and harder to switch off because of constant contact with work via their smart phones.”, continues the article.

“Smartphones are causing some users to experience heightened anxiety when used for social interactions, new research from Britain shows.” According to

The article continues with, “The distress stems from the persistent need many users feel to repeatedly review and immediately respond to any incoming email, text, tweet or alert. Such compulsive behavior has lead researchers to suggest that the mushrooming use of smartphones to sustain social connections, friendships and personal networks is associated with increased stress.” What was surprising about the study is that most of the smartphone stress was caused when the phone was used for personal and social use rather than professional purposes.

I think for me the most frightening thing about the study was the comment, “And as that type of usage increased so did the stress levels. Also, the results showed that 37 percent of adults and 60 percent of teenagers considered themselves addicted to their phones.”

It goes on to say “Nevertheless, the study, considered preliminary as it has not yet been published in a scientific journal, lead investigators to suggest that employers be aware of the added stress and negative impact smartphones may have on their employees.”

Phone Related Suicide?

According to this online article “In media interviews last spring, Swisscom Chief Executive Carsten Schloter described some of the pressures he had been under from the very technology that shot him to success — his smartphone.

“Modern communications devices have their downside,” Schloter told Switzerland’s Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper. “The most dangerous thing is to fall into a mode of permanent activity and continuously consult one’s smartphone to see whether any new mails have come in.”

Two months later, Schloter was dead, presumably by his own hand. Media reports suggested he had become dangerously addicted to his handheld device after his marriage disintegrated in 2009.”

Does your smartphone cause you stress or is it an invaluable tool? Let us know what your thoughts are on this by commenting here.