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The promise of telecommuting tech was one of the biggest pump-fakes that workers have ever seen. Everyone was going to be able to work from anywhere—sad offices with pallid fluorescent lighting be damned!

Obviously, that didn’t really come until the pandemic, and in a lot of ways telecommuting chained workers to their offices even more by making sure that their work was always present, in their computers and in their cellphones. Something needs to get done late? It’s not waiting until you get back into the office. Your boss is going to email/Slack/text you tonight to do it. 

Portugal is done with all of that. Its parliament approved legislation on Friday making it illegal for managers to contact their staff outside of working hours. Now, if your boss tries to contact you late, they can be fined, unless it’s an emergency situation. The only catch is that you have to go into the office every two months to check in with your supervisors and fellow employees.

And if you have a kid, you don’t even need your boss’ permission for any of this. You can just work from home without getting them to sign off. 

The legislation was drafted by Portugal’s socialist-led government in the hopes of regaining the work-life balance that has escaped many remote workers during the pandemic. Which is why, as I write this in the middle of my once-every-two-months weekend shift, I’ve also got a tab open for flights to Lisbon. Wish me a boa viagem, will you?

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