Feeling a bit burnt out? Working longer hours than you want to? The good news is that late-night emails from the boss could be easier to ignore after Apple announced an iPhone update that silences messages from the office at the end of the working day.
Apple's software update will introduce a “Focus mode” that stops devices from sending notifications from certain contacts or apps in an attempt to battle employee burnout.
Users can activate different modes, such as one for work and one for home, that will limit alerts depending on the time of day or location. The feature is designed as an antidote to the always-on culture that modern smartphones and apps have been accused of fostering by allowing managers to contact their staff at any time.
White collar employees working from home have complained of longer working hours and finding it more difficult to switch off while being perceived as always available. Some countries are even introducing “right to disconnect” practices that aim to ensure a work life balance by limiting how employees have to perform work outside of their normal hours.
The Focus mode in Apple’s new iOS 15 operating system, due to be released later this year, will allow iPhone owners to activate a personal setting that will hide apps such as emails or office chat services from the home screen.
They will be able to schedule the mode to coincide with work hours, or location, such as when somebody leaves the office or arrives at home.
They will also be able to add a do not disturb notice to Apple’s messages app, so that anyone attempting to follow an email with a text message will be alerted to their status. While emails and messages will still go through, users will not be alerted to them unless they deactivate the mode or deliberately check them.