CORRECTION: Ursula von der Leyen's title has been updated to reflect that she is no longer Labour minister.
Experts have called on British bosses to follow the example of the German Labour ministry, which stopped managers from calling or emailing staff outside of work hours, except in emergencies, to save them undue stress by constantly being on call.
Nick Bacon, professor of HR Management at Cass Business School, told HuffPostUK: "German employers and the German government are leading the way on progressive employment practices appropriate for the modern workplace.
"Organisations need to adopt and communicate clear policies to help employees with work-life balance because employees feel they are required by ‘competitive presenteeism’ to always be on-call to help with work-related problems.
"British managers should follow the example of exemplary German organisations in this area if they wish to increase labour productivity and enhance the well-being of their employees."
Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute and author of "The FT Guide to Management", said: "Good managers know that people will have things like family commitments and simply deserve the chance to switch off.
"Being ‘always on’ is the 21st century equivalent of office presenteeism – a macho way of showing you’re committed to your work – but managers need to be realistic about what the business actually needs, agree what’s reasonable with their team as individuals, and resist the temptation to be constantly sending or checking for messages.”
Ursula von der Leyen made the move last year as Labour minister, laying down "crystal-clear" rules over the use of work-related mobile phones by her own department's staff in a bid to encourage German bosses to follow suit.
"It's in the interests of employers that workers can reliably switch off from their jobs, otherwise, in the long run, they burn out," she said at the time.
"Technology should not be allowed to control us and dominate our lives. We should control technology."
The principles of von der Leyen's "rules for exceptional accessibility outside of individual working times" state that "No one who is reachable through mobile access and a mobile phone is obliged to use these outside of individual working hours."
German's Labour Ministry is not the first major institution to bring in such rules, with Volkswagen, E.ON, Puma, BMW and Deutsche Telekom doing so previously.
You can't rehash every annoyance or major problem with your partner every day or all you will do is sound like you're constantly complaining. Be selective about which story you want to share and which experiences you will keep to yourself.
Everyone should have a chance to get in the door and unwind from their own stress at work before being hit with a laundry list of their partner's issues. So don't walk in the door complaining. Come in, change clothes, decompress and use that time to calm down and consider what things should be shared and which ones should not.
Limit the amount of time you discuss what's stressing you. You have so little time to spend with your partner after work so don't spend it all complaining about problems. Sometimes we have rolling conversations about stressful things throughout the night. You bring it up as soon as you get home, then again during dinner, then after dinner, and then again in bed. Have the conversation once and avoid revisiting it unless absolutely necessary.
Spend as much time talking about non-stressful things or being affectionate as you spend stressing out. You want to leave your partner with a positive feeling about you, instead of with a knot in their stomach.
If you want your partner to listen to you when you're sharing your concerns, then be sure to listen to your partner when they're sharing theirs. Things will go better if you make eye contact and nod or comment to show agreement or react to what they're sharing. Listening while staring at the TV or reading your mobile device will make your partner feel ignored.
Our significant others tend to be our best friends, and so we want to tell them everything that we go through both personally and professionally. Sometimes we don't realize when that is becoming overwhelming or just too much info in too little time. If you have a good friend, sometimes you can decide to share with that person and not bring your every concern home to your partner.
So many of us are glued to our phones and computers but at some point we need to disconnect for the night and relax, especially when you need time for yourself and to spend time with your spouse and kids. You can't keep taking calls and reading emails through dinner, in the bathroom, in the bed and in the middle of a bedtime story. Choose a cutoff time to put your phone to bed and/or limit the amount of time you spend on the phone/computer so that you have time to take care of home. I know everyone needs to do what it takes to keep their jobs, but at the same time you won't be successful at work if you're falling apart from stress and your home life is crumbling around you. When you get home from work, try to manage your time and communications about work in a balanced way so that you can use your time at home to relax and recharge, not just rehash the day and keep the stress going.
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