On January 1st, 2017, a brand-new law in France guarantees workers the right to disconnect from work-related emails, work calls, your boss asking to FaceTime, clients calling you etc. once they leave the office.
The French, (including those overworked bus drivers, air traffic controllers etc) with their 35-hour weeks and 10 weeks of paid holiday per year, are in dire need of more off time.
Seriously- Give them credit for addressing a real issue, they just didn’t quite get it right. We spend quite a bit of time in Holland, a beautiful country- as is France BTW. Last summer I was in the park with the boys and there were hundreds of dads out with their kids, drinking beers and celebrating. I got chatting to one of them (at the outdoor bar) and he explained that in Holland there is virtually no difference in pay between people who work 70 hours per week and people who work 30 hours per week. This means many dads (this guy owned his own successful financial firm it emerged later) simply take Fridays off, every week. The big difference between this attitude and the French plan is when they are “on” they are on.
Similarly, in Spain… When we are working, we are really working. An Example… Craig was “late” for work one day last month – The reason he was late was that a previous buyer and client of Comaskey had a flight from Alicante and Craig dropped them up to the airport at 8 am. We start work at 9.30.
Clients who enquire about property rentals or purchases after 6pm get a reply from Claire, and never wonder is she still at the office- Nope, she has her Live chat working from home. The thing is we need to. We can’t ALL simply turn our phones off at 6 on a Friday and forget about our clients until Monday morning.
Where many agents on the Costa Blanca get it wrong is they spend their weekends and evenings doing non-urgent work. Replying to a mortgage broker about a deal that completes next month is doing not urgent work. A client stranded in Villamartin at 8 am because their lift to Alicante airport let them down… urgent.
In the UK, France and the US and the thin line between work and home life has become increasingly blurred, almost invisible on the evidence on what our clients tell us. I see stressed out Real Estate agents across the Costa Blanca falling into the same trap and their performance suffers, so does the value they give their clients.
One of my favourite aspects of the Comaskey Real Estate Franchise is that we will deal with our franchisees non-urgent work. Getting a mortgage approved is vital, of course it is- But Tracie will do it, meaning our Franchisees can relax when they are off, and when they are “on”, like us, they are really on!!
In fact, plenty of entrepreneurs and Estate agents in Spain love the whole idea that the work day is never “over.” In the real estate sector, we work when others are off and do inspection trips over the weekends if that is what clients want. The lie-in on a Monday morning makes it all worthwhile.
The inability to disconnect, take a deep breath and relax is also messing a lot of people up while contributing to the increased levels of burnout and stress leading to poor health. In Spain I think we have the balance right. The UK ranks 2nd last on the HSBC ex pat survey of healthiest places to live. People there are stressing themselves to death. In terms of healthy countries to re locate to…. Spain ranks first!
France passing laws that literally lets people ignore work emails is somewhat humorous especially considering their ability to down tools and strike at the drop of a French hat, but fair play to them for taking the issue seriously and being proactive.
Of course, you could just move to Spain and it would not be an issue!
If you are thinking of relocating to The Costa Blanca and you’d like advise on working in Spain, opening a business here or of course buying property in Spain – Contact Claire, either during work hours or the middle of the night. (She’ll reply next day!!!).