Volkswagen turns off email for BlackBerry workers

Volkswagen has agreed to turn off emails to workers with BlackBerry devices to help their work-life balance after an agreement with union representatives in Germany.

Volkswagen has agreed to turn off emails to workers with BlackBerry devices to help their work-life balance.

If you feel like you are never disconnected from your work and you are sick of that flashing red light on your BlackBerry announcing yet another email, then help is at hand.

The car maker has agreed to stop pushing emails to German staff after working hours. Email will be pushed to workers BlackBerry devices 30 minutes before they are due to start work and stopped 30 minutes after they are due to finish work.

The move, reached after agreement with labour representatives will affect 1,154 unionised, non-managerial workers at the company's six plants in Germany. Managers will keep receiving emails, the ruling does not apply to them.

This initiative was introduced after an agreement with union representatives in Germany. Unionised workers responded positively to the news. It follows similar moves implemented by other companies.

Deutsche Telecom has implemented a "Smart-Device-Policy" for its workers. This policy lets workers claim communication free time when they are off work, in exchange for a promise that managers will not expect them to read emails during their leisure time.

Out of hours challenges

Work-life balance, or rather lack of it, has long been an issue for workers with company issued mobile devices.

Atos intends to curb use of employee email and drive staff to inbox zero by 2013 to reduce the amount of time workers spend dealing with email whilst at home. Other workers have complained about receiving work-related communications outside working hours.

Last year, a policeman sued the city of Chicago for work done out of hours on his BlackBerry. Sergeant Jeffrey Allen argued that his connection to his workplace via his BlackBerry meant that the city of Chicago owed him overtime.

You don't need to turn your mobile phone off to get the peace and quiet you crave. Some devices can be configured to turn off push related notification for emails outside of working hours. The device can then be used as normal for receiving other messages such as social media content, texts and phone calls.

The challenge as we head towards 'broadband burnout' is do we actually want to be disconnected at all -- or is that flashing red light too compelling to ignore?

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