VW Will Block BlackBerry Email When People Are Off Work. Isn't That When It's Most Useful?

from the hmm dept

This is a bit odd. It appears that, as part of an agreement with its workers in Germany, Volkswagen has agreed to turn off BlackBerry messages to workers while they're away from work. Basically emails will stop going to BlackBerries a half hour after they leave work and won't come back until a half hour before they come back in.

Of course, it seems like if they don't want people to access emails while away from work there's a simpler solution: don't have workers use BlackBerries. Just saying.

The idea here is to keep employees from "feeling chained" and allowing them to enjoy the life part of the work/life balance. And, as we've discussed in the past, the blurring of the work/life balance is definitely an issue that some people need to deal with. But I have difficulty seeing how this helps in any way. In my experience, being able to access emails while not at my desk and in off-hours actually helps keep the work/life balance, since stuff doesn't pile up at work.

Years back, in college, I actually spent a lot of time studying how labor relations worked in Germany, and unions there tend to have a lot more say in how companies operate, to the point of being on councils with management making these kinds of decisions (it's a lot more partnership oriented than the US adversarial model). In many ways that's a good thing. Having management and employees working together to take on challenges, rather than just being at each other's throats, definitely has its advantages, but it can also create some wacky outcomes... like this.


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    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    union mentality

    I think the union was afraid that if the company simply doesn't require the workers to check email, that some of them would anyway, to stand out at the company. So they are hobbling the ones who would outcompete the lazier/less ambitious workers. Typical egalitarian union mentality.

     

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      bjupton (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:02am

      Re: union mentality

      Yeah, those lazy bastards who don't want to be bothered with work things that they are not compensated for during time that they might want to spend with their family or friends or reading a book or just taking a goddamned shit in peace.

       

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      Michael, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:18am

      Re: union mentality

      You need to turn off your faux TV. Without Unions there would be no America.

       

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        weneedhelp (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: union mentality

        Cmon now, dont you want to be working for companies with company script and stores, with living facilities?


        It was so grand for the Irish immigrants working in the coal industry.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

        Re: Re: union mentality

        Perhaps, but I believe the usefulness of the union has come and gone for most industries. I've never been in a union that didn't treat me /worse/ than the company would have.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: union mentality

          When unions first appeared they were an important step and I am very grateful for their creation. However I also agree that many modern unions have completely lost their purpose and become a detriment rather than benefit. Especially in the white-collar world.

          What's even more scary to me is how many unions are now being created and controlled by the companies themselves. I remember one of my first interviews in which the boss explained that his wife was the union president and would be deducting 12% of my pay cheque for union dues. I was young and desperate so I took the job but only for a couple of months - long enough to determine that the situation was exactly the way it appeared.

           

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 4:58pm

      Re: union mentality

      I hope you're being ironic or sarcastic there.

      While the German model is based more on partnership than the adversarial role of the US, US or Canada, Germany still has strikes, still has lockouts and still has serious differences of opinion.

      I doubt very much that VW or their union is terribly concerned about who might get hobbled in all of this. VW has top see a serious upside to this as work-life balance has become a large issue in Germany and is moving into the political realm.

      Finally, as a union acitivist and rep for years I'll fill you in on a couple of details, if I might.
      (a) Ambitious workers ALWAYS stand out, brown nosers do too. Their coworkers and management (if it has any sense) promotes the former and leaves the latter where they are.
      (b) Workers who know their stuff and go "the extra mile" during working hours are more efficient and effective than the majority of those who take it home. People in sales positions excepted because of the realities of their work.
      (c) union shops are nowhere near as egalitarian as you think they are. A wise manager let's the coworkers deal with the incompetent and lazy (that includes the brown nosers) who will push then out quickly enough without a boss having to read up on labour law to figure out how to fire someone and make it stick. (Most haven't a clue.)

      Then there's the folks whose work-life balance is seriously out of whack. In the long run most of them will cost their employers a ton of money as later on in life they will be the ones taking things like stress leave, show an inability to make important, critical decisions because they'll freeze on something, are far more likely to cause accidents and injuries in an office environment that will send people home with broken bones and what have we and in a plant or outdoor environment accidents leading to serious injury or death as they're totally and completely burned out.

      That's where the join union-management interest comes in. As a safety and health co-chair for 20+ years of my working life I can tell you these are the people who cause us the most grief and most concern.

      All that said, I don't see how turning off a blackberry is going to change anything. These people will take paper home with them, work longer hours in salaried positions and "free" overtime in hourly rated ones and not much will change. Except, perhaps, to add stress to their already stressed out lives.

      And people with out of whack work-life balances cause more problems and issues as well. Overall they're more likely to succumb to addiction (hell, they're addicted to work already) which brings on a cluster of other problems which union and management then have to deal with.

      Lastly, these folk, because their identity is so wrapped up in their work and who they work for, that they are by far the most likely to be the ones you read about who retire at, oh let's say, 65 and are dead by 65 1/8th.

      Like I said. Turning the blackberry off won't correct a badly distorted work life balance. It'll stress those who have it even more and simply drive them into finding ways around it. Say like telling contacts to email them at badlystressed@gmail.com after hours an email address they monitor on their personal blackberry. Won't solve the problem at all.

       

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        freak (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

        Re: Re: union mentality

        From what I was reading, it was the badly stressed [i]managers[/i] who were sending email to their employees at all hours of day.


        [i]"The idea is to keep employees from feeling chained to their smartphones, and to send a message to bosses that itís not reasonable to expect employees to be reachable at night, according to the Allgemeine Zeitung."[/i]


        So, yeah, what you said, but the point was to stop badly stressed people from effecting others with their bad management.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    How do you know the outcome is the result of this unique process? (Other decision-making processes could lead to similar results)
    Couldn't it also be that the different models (you mention) lead to equally "wacky" decisions (in whose opinion?). And the only real difference is a cultural one in how people operate in the face of conflicts.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 5:00pm

      Re:

      Actually the labour relations model used in Germany is one imposed on them at the end of World War II by the allies and most particularly the United States.

      Prior to that Germany's record in industrial relations was as bad as anyones.

       

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    Cloksin (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Here's a novel idea

    If you don't want your employees to access work emails when they're not at work, don't send them emails when they're not at work.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:38am

      Re: Here's a novel idea

      VW is a global company, as such emails get sent at all hours of the day.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:13am

      Re: Here's a novel idea

      You do realize that VW isn't a closed system, right? There's more to their emails than just internal emails. There's suppliers, consultants, contractors, etc.

       

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        Cloksin (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: Here's a novel idea

        "The idea is to keep employees from feeling chained to their smartphones, and to send a message to bosses that itís not reasonable to expect employees to be reachable at night, according to the Allgemeine Zeitung."


        I don't know, but after reading that quote it seems to me that the problem was with management sending emails to their employees. Instead of disabling the blackberries, just tell your managers to stop sending emails after hours. Goes right back to my original point.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:43am

    Not allowed to bring your leash home

    It's unpaid labor to have to read and respond to work-related issues on your own time. This is a smart move by VW on behalf of its employees.

     

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      Doug D (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:11am

      Re: Not allowed to bring your leash home

      Why? I have a BlackBerry for my work. I work for a global company as well and get emails at all hours of the night. I'm not on call and therefore not required to do unpaid work when I'm at home. That said I will sometimes respond to emails while on vacation/off work because I choose to. That's a choice I make for a variety of reasons but VW isn't giving their employees any choice at all.

       

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        Bill (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:24am

        Re: Re: Not allowed to bring your leash home

        Different labor laws there than here in the US. It could have been in response to the employees wanting to be compensated for after hours work. Rather than pay extra just in case someone checks email, they just shut it down.

         

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          Vidiot (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Not allowed to bring your leash home

          EXACTLY correct. The maze of Euro, and especially German, labor laws is profoundly immense, and touches every aspect of employment. There are requirements for the maximum distance an employee may work from a source of natural light; regulations that require many steps prior to termination, no matter what cause. I'm not saying that level of intrusion is right; but it's a cultural thing, and American sensibilities don't come into play.

           

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            TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 5:15pm

            Germany's unique labour laws

            Actually, German labour laws were imposed by the Allies after World War II. They've had some slight refinement since but essentially they're what they Allies, particularly the United States, told them that this is how it was gonna work.

            I suspect the hope of the western Allies like the USA, Canada and the UK, to a lesser degree France, who didn't have much of a say in those things, that this would be model for their own countries.

            (Canada had the third largest army in the Allied invasion of Normandy, the third largest air force and the third largest navy in the Atlantic theatre specializing in sub detection, tracking and sinking for convoys and sea born troop landing picket duty. We can still find a single sub in the Pacific given enough time. ;-) )

            Anyway the point is that the labour relations system in Germany isn't one of long standing culture but one of losing a war where practically the entire infrastructure of a country was destroyed.

             

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        Ninja (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re: Not allowed to bring your leash home

        If it was a choice for all the companies that rely on BlackBerry...

        I can see their reasoning and I agree and disagree at the same time. While there are the sensible ones that will simply shut down their phones when they want offline time (I even have my own personal number and nobody besides friends and family have it) there are some ppl that will stay hooked to the point that it will harm them.

        I think the best solution would be to educate your employees, specially those that seem to be unable to disconnect.

         

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        sniperdoc (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: Not allowed to bring your leash home

        As far as I know this done at the request of a majority OF the Employees... not just something their MIS department did at a whim...

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Experiment

    For years, especially with the explosion of smart phones, the distinction between home and work has been getting eroded. Before it was considered Taboo to call an worker on their day off or after hours unless it was some kind of emergency. Slowly it became more accessible just to chat about something, but still you needed a good reason. With a smartphone though (especially company issued) the concept of when and how someone can be reached is so simple. A phone call may be rude, but e-mail is just that, an e-mail. He doesn't HAVE to respond to it if he does not want to. While I do not see this working quite the way VW hopes it should be interesting to see how it plays out.

    It kind of reminds me when I heard a lot of large companies were requiring that employees actually use their vacation time rather than cashing it in, or just letting it accumulate. They wanted their employess to rest from time to time as they found it aided their quality of work and general demeanor.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:23am

      Re: Experiment

      This is what companies said outwardly. "Use your vacation and refresh yourself. It's good for you and the company." In reality these days built up and was a liability to the company. It was time/money owed to the employee whilst employed and especially when "let go". I've worked for 2 of the largest companies in the world. If you don't use your vacation time, they don't care. They think they're getting a good deal...

       

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    shmengie (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    How Unamerican!

    Letting employees have a life. What the hell are they thinking?

     

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    Tom, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Work//Life Balance

    Pretty interesting that a large company would go this route. I think different people definitely have varied opinions on this. Like Mike, I understand the value that having 24/7 access brings in giving a sense of control over your work/non-work balance, especially when you are running your own business. But, I can also see that employees may feel pressured to check their emails on evenings, weekends, vacations, etc. when they get them on their mobile devices. That kind of expectation can make it hard for some people to maintain a healthy work/life separation.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:05am

    I pray for the day when my company does this.

     

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    d, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Seriously...

    Who cares and why is this news worthy? I have an idea, lets talk about Ford's bathroom break policies next!! It's a private company doing what they want to do. They are not breaking laws or doing anything wrong in ANY way whatsoever! Holy crap, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!! More ideas for news: TV stations stop broadcasting at 3am every morning; Street lights turn off during daytime; Stores stop Xmas sales after Xmas day; and, What is Kim Kardashian wearing now?? someone shoot me...

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:19am

      Re: Seriously...

      BANG!!!!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:19am

      Re: Seriously...

      Who cares and why is this news worthy?

      There's a simple solution to your problem. Direct your browser somewhere else if you don't like the post. No one forced you to read this or to make your useless comment.

       

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      Bill (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:31am

      Re: Seriously...

      TV stations stop broadcasting at 3am every morning

      That would be news worthy at 3am in California we get nonstop infomercials. I so wish we just had the end of day snow & tone from long ago. I do not need to "Just set it and forget it!".

       

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      Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:50am

      Re: Seriously...

      This isn't a newspaper, it's a blog. Mike posts whatever he wants to talk about. If you don't like it, read the NY Times.

      Go soak your head.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:13am

      Re: Seriously...

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      First, it's an opinion piece. Second, it is worthy debating over 1- the real impact this decision might have, specially considering that it's a high profile company (and likely to be followed by others) and 2- the overall impact of our more and more connected lives.

      Ever thought about what would you do without your precious internet for a month? I thought not.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:39pm

        Re: Re: Seriously...

        god forbid some people may have to separate their personal lives from their business lives after they're no longer on the clock. I have an idea! DON'T USE THE COMPANY'S EMAIL FOR SHIT OFF HOURS!!! What are the 'far reaching implications' then retard? get a gmail address and stop sucking up resources that don't belong to you. I'm pretty sure your company's new hire policy doesn't include a clause about filtering your 2000 porn spam emails that bombard the server everyday for free. suck it up if ya don't like it.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:33am

      Re: Seriously...

      You see this actually have social value.

      We need to be on the same page and any cursory review of the answers posted here will show that we are not.

      People don't understand why employees would need such hard lines and there is good reasons for it even though it may be detrimental for work.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Seriously...

      Actually VW isn't private in the sense that it's privately owned it's a publicly traded company. And it has a record of being one of the, if not THE, most successful car makers on the planet over time.

      Now for the important question for you: What is Kim Kardashian wearing now?? And is she as fat as she looks? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    Android's exchange interface gives me the option to only sync mail during certain hours. When I leave work, I'm done with work, I don't get emails.

    I've been doing this ever since I started syncing work email on my personal phone.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:18am

    Shaking head

    If you are a salaried employee STFU and read your emails, and if it is an issue, shut it off. If I am busy, I just dont read them. Whaaaa whaaaa work life balance, I need my precious time off. Really? What a bunch of babies we have become.

    Now in the case of an hourly employee, we just had a situation in my company where hourly employees were trying to claim overtime due to responding to emails/calls after hours. He he. So we just took all their phones and enacted policy that hourly employees are not to have company provided phones anymore.

    My first really well paying job with a plumber at 18 was 60, 70, 80, and sometimes 90 hour weeks. Suck it up Amerika and get back to work.

    See what happens when tree hugging hippies became CEO's.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:23am

      Re: Shaking head

      Suck it up Amerika and get back to work.

      Misspelling of America aside, VW is a German company. Your rant is misdirected.

       

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        weneedhelp (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re: Shaking head

        "Your rant is misdirected" Seems as if the Germans are taking a page from the Amerikan worker.

        When I am thinking of fat lazy fellow Americans it becomes Amerika. Spelling? Really? Never seen it spelled that way before? Haven't spent much time on the intertubewebs have ya?

        I have heard all of the work life balance, and healthy good life blueprint crap these tree hugging hippie CEO's are spewing nowadays. I stand by my original statement. SUCK IT UP AND GET BACK TO WORK AMERIKA. And if you have to take 70, 80, 90 hours to get er done then f'in do it.

        Despite popular belief, we are all not fat lazy Americant's.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Shaking head

          Have you worked 16 hours a day 7 days a week?

          I have and I kept up for a year before giving up, heck I was so tired all the time I couldn't think straight and several times I just fall asleep where a sat down, and the focker would still call me to ask questions.

          There was something wrong, if anybody woke me up 10 minutes earlier I would complain loudly and with extreme prejudice, 10 minutes of sleep was actually important to me at the time, very, very important.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Shaking head

          Oh I just remembered an ISUZU truck factory, at the bell for all the breaks all line workers just threw themselves to the floor exhausted, nobody told me this I saw it, it was grueling, I get tired just looking at those guys working.

          Office workers fare no better, bosses expect things and they want it now, I saw this engineer once receiving a direct order to learn CAD in one week or else, I felt sorry for the guy and happy I was not employed by those people, is good to be a subcontractor sometimes.

          Not to mention the differences in work style, somehow and English worker managed to kill himself in an inkjet producing machine, there are no parts capable of crushing a man skull, heck there is no space to put your head inside the jigs, but somehow he managed it and got his head crushed, every other manufacturing plant got a memo detailing how it happened and to revise security protocols, is not like he was operating a CNC machine, and got his hand stuck or got inside to clean one to have some prankster push the start button not realizing that once the machine was operation it wouldn't stop, carving the person inside to pieces, or when you are tired and doesn't notice that somebody is in the material elevator of a foundry furnace cleaning it and you hit start and the guy has to jump from the second story breaking his legs in the fall.

          I read on Boing Boing the letter of a researcher employer stating what was expected of the researcher employee.

          http://boingboing.net/2010/06/25/i-have-noticed-that.html

          Fascination with weekends was not in there anywhere.

           

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          That Anti-Fascist Guy, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

          Amerika

          It's spelled "Amerika" when you want to imply that the country has become a fascist hellhole - run by corporations where workers are truly "wage-slaves" - making just enough money to take on the burden of feeding & housing & clothing themselves, & sparing their "masters" the inconvenience.

          Sounds like that's how you want it - then again some people like to suspend themselves with meathooks (it's a sex thing).

          Choose for yourself - don't try to subject the rest of us to your perverted worldview.

           

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 5:35pm

      Re: Shaking head

      OK, so let me get this right. You worked 16 hour days on a 5 day week. As a plumber.

      At the end of which you're seriously going to tell me you could remember your own name much less the tools and skills of your craft?

      Sorry, I have to call bullshit on that one.

      And, thank God, I was never around any of the work you did at any point on a Friday much less Friday afternoon. Particularly if you were installing a hot water heater.

      What you're claiming is just not physically and mentally possible. Particularly for a tradesman or craftsman. And plumbers are both.

      And as my employer wouldn't pay me to answer calls after hours I didn't unless the call came from my boss. That was it. And the moment I picked that phone up my OT clock started to run simply because at that point I knew it was a genuine emergency and not something some brain dead dispatcher thought might, could be, just possibly was an emergency.

      And if they didn't like that they could take the cell back. Mine and about 3600 others. Funny, they never did. So be proud of yourself for taking their phones away if you want. Yah don't pay the freight for the hourly rated dudes like me, ya don't get answered. Simple.

      You're as full of it as my father was when he told me about walking barefoot in the show up to his hips to get to school when he was a kid back in Edmonton at 40 below.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Another solution?

    Here's how I deal with the work/life balance: If I'm paged off hours I mark the amount of time I work, and I come in late or I leave early for the next working day. Just because I hold an electronic device does not mean you get to use my personal time.

    Works well.

     

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    Fredrik, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:33am

    If you check your mail when you are not working you dont get paid. Its not the employee fault that she/he dont have time to do all things at work.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    I guess the half hour before and after work is so they can check their emails while driving 200 kph on the autobahn to and from the office?

     

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    sniperdoc (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    People don't get it

    See, there's something called "balance". Most people nowadays don't understand this concept. People leave work, want to stay connected to emails and what not. Have dinner with their family, ding ding - EMAIL!!!, ding ding - NOTIFICATION!!!... seriously people...

    In my environment, people go on vacation and ask how they can access their work computer/network remotely from a hotel and I wonder why the hell they bothered to take a vacation...? The interesting thing is, these same folks are older and single. You wonder why...? Seperate work from personal life...

    Something individuals need to understand is that a balance is needed, something VW certainly seems to understand. I don't need to be notified that something's going on after work, I don't CARE to know. I am a salaried worker. I don't get paid more, and I don't get paid less, whether I work late, or whether I work early. No one gives a crap. So, my personal time is MINE, not my company's time.

    As far as the comments "why bother with a blackberry"... some people's jobs are to be on the road and visit remote locations. A Blackberry is a perfect tool for staying in touch DURING WORK HOURS, not while that someone is at a bar later that evening while relaxing and picking up singles.

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:19am

      Re: People don't get it

      "hotel and I wonder why the hell they bothered to take a vacation"

      Sorry but if I see an INR for one of my systems I want to make sure I know exactly whats going on. Because in the end, I am still responsible for those systems. Some of us still take pride in our work. Some of us still put teamwork high up in the priority list. (Not to imply you dont)Just because I am not at work does not mean they dont need my help.

      Just want to put in your 40 and collect a check? Well thats ok, but dont cry when you get 1 or 2% for a raise. Dont cry when you get passed up for another position you really wanted. Dont cry when your job gets outsourced to third world countries where they will work twice the hours for half the pay.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: People don't get it

        You need to change, if you was to be a manager you probably inflict pain on others.

        Everyone has their own rhythm and that rhythm should be dictated by the weakest link in the chain not the strongest, else people start shooting others, committing suicide or giving up.

        No matter how much you work, outsourced work will always win, with the salary any one makes in a developed country they can hire 10 guys to do the same job and they don't need to work as hard they actually don't work that hard, those things you see on TV are propaganda, if you visit the factories and offices you will see something different, unless you are in Germany or Japan the 2 most hard working people I have ever seen, I don't think that there is anybody in the world more hard working and still, they all get outsourced too, is not about how hard you work, but how you work and for how much, ten people working the same job of 3 others for the same amount of money will always produce more no matter how much you try hard.

        Raise should be in living quality not in salary, at some point economic growth stalls and goes down, it can't grow forever that would mean our extinction just like yeast kill itself in the process of expanding their numbers.

        That is why I love open source it keeps things local with a global brain, everybody contributes and everybody use that locally to make a living, the other part of the puzzle is how to make a living without using much money, the important part is having everybody working and creating wealth, work is all that matters, not the salary, the money doesn't create wealth it enables wealth because it makes people work and produce goods and services, but it has downsides that were never addressed.

        Also once you are out of the office you should stay incommunicable with work, not because you don't care but because if you are anything like me, it will consume every living part of your life, there needs to be limits and a growing number of people have noticed that we may have reached the apex of the working frenzy, there are just so many hours in a day and so much one can do and learn to trust others and let them deal with the situations that arise, yes this makes you vulnerable to what others may think of you, that is why mandated hard lines are not a bad idea.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

        Re: Re: People don't get it

        Yes, because everyone on your "team" really appreciates your "pride"...

        You do realize everyone except your boss thinks you're a self-important douche, right?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re: People don't get it

        Being a workaholic is sort of like being an adrenalin junkie - some people thrive on it others die from it.

        I have personally worked 90 hour weeks and enjoyed it; I have also worked 90 hour weeks and nearly been killed because of the complete exhaustion it caused. For me a major factor was the type of challenge and the variety of work involved. The point is that individual situations create different results.

        In your case you enjoy the challenge and responsibility of taking your work with you. Other people - especially those with less challenging jobs - simply become burned out when they do that. In my case I always like to take my career home with me, but not necessarily my job. Then again I am able to distinguish between important and unimportant work, and I am willing to tell my employer to shove it if I feel my dedication is being abused.

        The question isn't simply what our personal experience indicates, but what is best for the majority of workers. That is something I suspect will vary greatly from company to company and from job type to job type.

        Aside from all that I agree, anyone who just wants to put in a basic 40 hour week also shouldn't complain when they get passed by for promotion or pay raises. Especially if they also refuse to take their career home with them (a pet peeve of mine is people who insist on learning only the barest minimum needed to complete their day-to-day job - come on, I understand not wanting to take the companies overload of unfinished work home with you but the career is yours!).

         

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 5:51pm

        Re: Re: People don't get it

        And while I agree with you that when something in the scope of my craft goes wrong AND it's important, I want to get it fixed. And I take immense pride in my work. And the speed I can get it done in when I'm alert and awake.

        But I'm not going out because some poor manager of some small company's single phone isn't working in the middle of the night cause he knows someone who knows someone. There ARE priorities you know.

        Good lord, I'm glad I don't work for you. And no, I never did do my 40 and out. By the same token I was never expected to work myself to exhaustion to the point where my work was complete junk. I earned my pay and I made my employer a ton of money while I did it.

        You, on the other hand, seem to want your employees to work till they nearly drop so that your company has to go back again to fix it again..something that takes three times as long as it would done right the first time by someone alert and awake. So I'm also glad I'm not your customer.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    I worked in the semiconductor industry on night shift as a technical supervisor and had a boss that was lost during the day. A policy that stated that all pages and emails had to be answered within 2 hours drove me insane. Every morning 2 hours after I got off and asleep pages would start and wouldnt stop until shortly before I had to report to work. What happened on this tool or that tool..it was all in the meticulous logs but the boss wanted an immediate answer. I left that job for a 9-5 sure I make 50K less but I have relearned the names of my kids, have stopped bleeding internally (no joke,stress and lack of sleep can do that to you), and even though I am supposed to carry a bberry as a manager for my new company I carry a standard button world phone. Every supervisor I knew on my shift was an alcoholic heading happily to an early grave. People on these blogs have no idea how hard a company can drive folks with tons of cash but ruining lives. Some companies have hotels next to them they book and make their employees stay at dictating when they get off and when they wake up during high need, high profit times and since the company I worked for was German I think there was an actual need for this at VW that a lot of people cannot understand.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    This move may be motivated by the expectations employers have, some expect people to be available to them any time and that can have detrimental effects for employees that don't live up to those expectations.

    I worked under such conditions is no fun at all.

    It is one thing to do it voluntarily is another when there are expectations, and to be honest most employers will expect you to be there when they call.

    This reminded me of a comment Mike did a while back, when he told of a experience of his with someone that was looking for a job and he though "Gee, if the guy doesn't bother or don't have the imagination to set an appropriate time for meeting why should I help him?"

    From my point of view Mike at that moment was doing the exact same thing the other person was doing and that is not being considerate of others, not on purpose but a natural egoistical tendency that we all have, added with our own inability to imagine every scenario possible for why things happen, the guy was unemployed he had all the time in the world, he wasn't living under pressure he probably didn't have the experience necessary for knowing he needed to consider that others may not be as relaxed with their time as he is and so forth and he decided right there and then he wasn't going to put much effort to help that guy.

    This is the why hard limits may be a good idea for employees, it may have negative effects on the work, but it does protect people from those high expectations that we all have and would merciless dish out to others without thinking about it.

    ps: I'm not using a "Mike story" to attack him, just using one that anybody here have more chances of remembering and it is personal, it drives the point more effectively, it makes it real, not something theoretical.

     

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    Joe, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

    I think this could be a useful model - we all get too much email these days and sifting through them to check the important ones is a chore at any hour of the day. Maybe what they should have done is only allow messages marked as urgent to go through after hours so the purpose of having the blackberry is maintained while blocking out the more mundane stuff. yes I know, I have clients that have a rather interesting interpretation of what is 'urgent'. I once had a 7am call from a client who was concerned about a 2px misalignment on her home page.... on firefox....on a mac..... but at least it's a start.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 6:00pm

      Re: The client from hell, huh?

      Won't work.

      I learned very quickly when email came in that EVERYONE considers their message URGENT!!!. (Exclamation points deliberate.)

      Soon I filtered my mail by who sent it. And they had a limited number of times to send me stuff that was a complete waste of my time before they were piped off to what, in Linuxland is called /dev/null.

      Now, with your client I'd have let it sit there till it was time to go to work again, check the site with IE, FF, Safari and Chrome and then called her to ask if it was worth it to waste my time on this and remind her that my time is worth money. Politely, carefully and with respect by to make sure she got the message. If she wanted to cease to be my client at that stage I'd shake her hand, wish her well, point out the early termination penalty clause in the contract we signed and leave. Head down to Tim's, grab a coffee and doughnut and cheer at the top of my lungs. Clients like that cost money, the aren't worth keeping. ;-)

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    We have had a rash of senior manager and CEO's leaving the company to spend more time with their families. I work for an extremely large company and at first it was like...'yeah, the got pushed out right?' Then after the dozenth one and HR starting to call us managers and tell us we need to be focused on our families more and questioning the length of our business trips and the impact on our families and seminars on work/life balance...something is going on - a big old paradigm shift where talent is walking out the door left and right driven to it by the global 24 hour work cycle. I have meetings all hours of the day all over the world and was told at one point that if I did not answer my emails promptly that I would need to look for another job in this 'brilliant' economy. At the exact same time I have HR telling me to put the laptop down that I was too valuable to the company to have 'burnout'.

     

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