VW limits after hours Blackberry mail service for work-life balance

All those people seen pulling out Blackberries and checking email after hours at dinner, school functions, and home may have some peace in their future. If they work for Volkswagen.

While a nice step for work-life balance, this only concerns about 1,150 employees at six plants in Germany. IT will block email to those people's company-provided Blackberries 30 minutes after their work time stops and resume service 30 minutes before their next shift. VW uses a "flex-time" scheduling arrangement, so employees will receive emails only "between 0700 and 1815," or 7 AM to 6:15 PM.

European workers have better work-life balance built into their contracts from the start, at least according to envious American workers. While many European managers take off for the entire month of August, American workers tend to not use all of their meager allotment of time off. The "Work Council" pushed the new arrangement limiting incoming emails. Nothing was said in the reports about whether outgoing email service is suspended.

Hooray for VW

Good idea. A mid level supervsior can be a real tyrant, emailing relevant info to shift work staff that requires immediate answers. it is like an electronic whip.

bigdump on theglobeandmail.com

This contract was signed by the workers council ("Betriebsrat") of VW, an entity which has significant legal rights in representing the interests of all employees of a company, according to German law - not just those who are members of a union.

lvml on wired.com

Besides the Scandinavian countries Germany in general has the most humaine labour laws worldwide. Volkswagen's decision only echoes that fact.

P.W. on theglobeandmail.com

Better advice

Just switch it OFF! Is that too difficult to do?

John_from_Hendon on bbc.co.uk

The Volkswagen employees are rejoicing at this news. They'd rather enjoy the use their personal iPhones when they go home, instead of the clunky, company-mandated S**tBerries.

Fred Vermeer on wired.com

This is such a backward step - this should be about personal choice. With two young children I prefer sorting email at 10pm rather than being expected to be at my desk until 5 or 6pm and missing their bedtime.

work life balance on bbc.co.uk

Going too far

My wife is a school teacher and is refusing to have an email-equipped mobile because she knows she'll be expected to answer emails 24/7. Orwellian nightmare!

3legs on bbc.co.uk

Could the VW 'block' of messages result in hundreds of messages waiting for you when you switch on at 7:00 am? Especially, the message posted the day before, saying, "Take the day off tomorrow".

B.Causeiknow on theglobeandmail.com

Plus German workers get paid better and have MUCH better benefits than the now 3rd world, american workers.

kuei12 on wired.com

If the US can follow the new German model of slowing or stopping after-hours email, can we start working on getting more vacation days?

This story, "VW limits after hours Blackberry mail service for work-life balance" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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