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
    TtfnJohn (profile), 27 Dec 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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