VW workers get peace on Earth

Picture of the Volkswagen logoVolkswagen has taken steps to make sure its employees have a bit of peace and quiet over the festive season - following reports including our own yesterday about how people are failing to switch their emails off over Christmas, VW will be turning its servers off out of hours. If you work for the company and have a BlackBerry it won't wink at you because nobody can email you.
It actually gets better, according to a report in today's Financial Times (open it in a new window by clicking here): in an agreement with the unions, executives covered by the negotiations are going to have their email switched off half an hour after their shifts permanently, it's not just a Christmas thing.

Peace of mind is not just for Christmas


This may seem a bit radical to the work-obsessed population who are lucky enough not to have their jobs under threat right now, but it may actually make people more productive. Knowing your family time isn't going to be interrupted by work may well make you better disposed towards focusing on the job during office hours.

This plus increasing awareness of the risk of "burn-out" - although that doesn't have a very precise meaning - has led to the new policy getting a welcome from both managers and workers, according to the workers' representatives. It's likely that the highly unionised nature of the German workforce has had a hefty influence on this policy getting through, and the FT says it's not yet clear whether the idea will become widespread.

Non-unionised staff such as senior managers not covered by the collective negotiations are not covered by the rule. However they are almost certain to be affected by a company culture that doesn't email after hours.
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