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.

Filed Under: blackberries, email, germany, work life balance
Companies: volkswagen


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  1. icon
    sniperdoc (profile), 27 Dec 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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