German car manufacturer Daimler is taking work-life-balance to a whole new level.
The company is planning thin out the amount of email its workers receive during their holiday by deleting any message sent to an employee on leave - if staff want them to. All senders will receive an out-of-office notification, which will inform the sender of who to contact instead. After that, all messages will be deleted, meaning workers will return from their break to an empty inbox.
Employees will be able to request the new service from the beginning of 2013.
Wilfried Porth, a member of Daimler's management board, described the change as a "significant measure that will help our workforce to 'switch off' even better during rest periods".
The new email policy resulted from a study conducted by the company in conjunction with the University of Heidelberg. The organisations conducted an extensive survey, asking 6,000 employees about their work-life-balance, in order to identify changes that Daimler could make to improve it. The new email policy is one of the changes instituted as a result.
In addition, management guidelines have been updated, with managers now asked to take free time more seriously. "No one is expected to be on call 24/7," the Daimler guidelines say.
Erich Klemm, chairman of the workers council, is satisfied with the new guidelines. "Supporting employees to maintain an appropriate [work] life balance has been an issue for us for a long time."
Daimler is not the first German auto manufacturer that wants to clean up the inboxes of his employees. Volkswagen launched a similar approach in late 2011: between 6.15pm and 7am, company-issued mobile phones like Blackberrys don't receive any new messages.