By on December 23, 2011

Volkswagen’s 1,154 white-collar workers that have been issued smartphones by the company will get an unexpected (and possibly unwelcome) Christmas present: Silent Night in the in-boxes.

Volkswagen and its works council have agreed that the e-mail function will be deactivated at night, Reuters reports:

“Workers will only receive e-mails from half an hour before the start of flex-time working hours until half an hour after they end, but will still be able to receive and make phone calls.”

The works council was worried that being reachable via email around the clock could heighten the risk of burnout, “a psychological syndrome that some studies have said causes almost 10 million sick days a year in Germany.”

The fact that email does not need to be checked while sleeping must have escaped some.

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13 Comments on “Volkswagen Workers Can Sleep Better: No Mail At Night...”


  • avatar
    Hank

    “The fact that email does not need to be checked while sleeping must have escaped some.” I certainly don’t know about VW, but in some companies and government jobs, not checking email at night or responding within minutes (seconds if you’re an Army recruiter) can lead to a serious butt-chewing, so a deal like this could indeed be quite welcome to people in such a situation. All depends on the work environment you’re in.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Should I forward this article to my boss? Hmmm… maybe after I leave for the holiday weekend ;)

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I saw this over on crackberry.com. Personally, I don’t think I could stop checking mail, but it’s nice to think they’re trying it. It has to be done this way, too, because the inconsistency would create two classes of employees and more strife.

  • avatar
    turtletop

    The fact that this is worthy of note at all speaks volumes about the sickness of present-day workplace culture. Good on VW for showing how a civilized company behaves.

    Seriously, if you can’t organize your company so that your employees can have a holiday without your disturbing them at all hours and taking yet more time away from family and loved ones, your management skills are piss-poor at best.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      your management skills are piss-poor at best.

      Not at all, many people like to make a lot of money in exchange for being on call 24/7. In my business, if you want to be on call 24/7 and ready to travel at a moments notice you make 350k. If you want to be home every night at 5:30 you make 75k.

      My only issue is managers who expect a Goldman Sachs MD work ethic for Walmart greeter money.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        “Not at all, many people like to make a lot of money in exchange for being on call 24/7. In my business, if you want to be on call 24/7 and ready to travel at a moments notice you make 350k. If you want to be home every night at 5:30 you make 75k.”

        I agree. There is a segment of the population that thrives on this. However, there is also a segment that wants to have nothing to do with this type of lifestyle.

        What business are you in? And how do I sign up?

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        The 350k people are my in-laws. Really shitty people who will make any lame excuse at the drop of the hat. First birthday of their nephew (who is their god-son)? Can’t make it, because they need to go to a baseball game with ‘clients’.

        Same bullshit all the time. Money is cool, but smelling the roses can be better.

        “The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
        Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. “

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The fact that email does not need to be checked while sleeping must have escaped some.

    I worked in a large company whose president was fond of sending out email at 2-3 AM. He expected immediate responses. Aside from quitting, there was no escape.

    • 0 avatar
      daveainchina

      I would have quit. Sorry but unless someone is going to die(ie you are a doctor and have to do emergency surgery), there is absolutely no need for this.

      Sounds to me like many people need to learn a thing called personal respect again. Somehow in our drive to be the most productive workers in the world, we lost the fact that families are as important or more important than work.

      Hopefully we’ll see more companies like this in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      Hopefully the owners of that company will become aware of that idiot waking his staff up in the middle of the night with the consequent effect on their daytime performance. What a drongo.

  • avatar
    Fusion

    I think you should mention that this rule only applies to employees who fall under the general contracts between union and Volkswagen – thats why its “only” 1100 workers.

    Usually, mid-management and up (maybe even lower) will not be under those contracts and therefore can keep their email function… ;)

  • avatar
    dhcobra

    Who cares about the e-mail function which is a nice luxury. If the situation is important enough to disturb a key employee on his off time a phone call should be in order.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      Amen! If it’s an emergency, call me. I no longer answer my email when I’m out of the office. Likewise, if it’s not an emergency, please do not interrupt me with a phone call. I’m not at your beck-and-call to jabber, yet I am not quite at the rank in my organization where I have my own personal secretary (er, admin).

      * Since I adopted this rule, not only has my social and family life improved, but so has my productivity. I schedule my work so that I get done during work hours. Distractions are no longer tolerated. Meetings are no longer allowed to go beyond their scheduled time.

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