WeChat is ruining work-life balance, and one local government wants to fix it
In China, WeChat is for both work and play, but one Zhuhai district wants the right to disconnect
The local government of Xiangzhou district in Zhuhai (the Chinese city across the border from Macau) proposed banning the practice for government employees at the beginning of the month.
But in China, disconnecting from work obligations can be more difficult. Unlike in the West, where people tend to use email or work-optimized apps like Slack, China's online communication -- whether with a boss or family -- revolves around just one app: WeChat.
This means that for many, it's getting harder to separate private and work communication. Xiangzhou district published the announcement as part of a measure to reduce the burden on government workers and standardize WeChat communication.
“WeChat groups originally served to improve working efficiency but [with more and more groups forming] it has become a heavy working burden to employees,” said the district’s proposal, which ironically was published on their official WeChat account. “In principle, one company can only form one WeChat group [and] the group for a project should be disbanded after it is done.”
Xiangzhou district’s proposal is also aimed at curbing unnecessary chitchat. The post noted that workers should not randomly send messages or post emojis in the WeChat group unless it’s really important.
WeChat has proven convenient for work in many ways. Like many other chat apps, WeChat can be used for video conferencing and sending images and documents. The app offers more than just that, though, including the ability to split a lunch bill with colleagues and issuing purchase invoices for reimbursements.
And everyone is already there: The platform has 1 billion users, with almost 90% of them using it for work on a daily basis.
Without a dedicated work chat app, Chinese users are stuck with the one app that does everything, including merging work and personal communication.