Volkswagen has agreed to stop its Blackberry servers sending emails to some of its employees when they are off-shift. The German automaker made the move following complaints that staff's work and home lives were becoming blurred.
The new policy covers employees in Germany working under trade union negotiated contracts. Under the arrangement, servers stop routing emails 30 minutes after the end of employees' shifts, and then start again 30 minutes before they return to work.
The staff can still use their devices to make calls and the rule does not apply to senior management. "We wanted to take a preventative approach to tackling the issue," said Gunnar Killian, VW's works council spokesman. "At Volkswagen flexitime is between 0730-1745, with our new arrangement workers can only receive emails between 0700 and 1815."
"It's bad for the individual worker's performance being online and available 24-7. You do need downtime, you do need periods in which you can actually reflect on something without needing instantaneously to give a reaction," said Will Hutton, chair of the