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Volkswagen turns off work email for workers during non-work hours!

I am so used to being connected to 24x7 and working that something like this would perhaps come across as torture. :) But it is a very interesting strategy... give employees their life back during the time they are not on company payroll.

What do you think? Would this fly in your company? Should it? Should we (non-critical, say, IT folks) be allowed to just be connected to the company during work hours? Should we be forced to spend time with your families?

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Of course this would never have happened in a non-union environment. I'm not the most pro-union person but I have to admit that on this one I was kind of cheering that they struck one for the "worker" against the management.
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Story & context: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16314901
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14 comments
 
I think there are time when this works when "pay for time" (ie tech support handling tickets) is the precedent rather than "pay for delivery"

on a side note of my own I actually loath opening outlook as I know that there is a "honeymoon" period each week before the maelstrom of work requests takes over from planned work shedule.
 
Maybe forbidden mail only morning would be a good thing .....but now Gtalk, MSN, Twitter, Skype are like water between the fingers of a hand, .....
My advise to VW :
Do'nt begin a fight you are sure to loose.
 
I check email only once daily. After work I switch off my PC. When switching it on during the weekend I do not open my email client. It's great for productivity, sanity and keeping intrusive clients off.
 
I wonder if makes them more productive - having a break and making them focus on work during work hours or less productive?
 
They should settle for the spam. What is non-working hours anyway?
 
When you have customers around the world, there is no time that is excluded from when problems might be sent out to see if anyone has a solution. If email is off, this would slow down solutions a lot :}
 
Earlier this year I decided not to read the company email after work.

In fact, it did not make any difference at all, because none of my clients sends me emails after work :)
 
There is a subtle but deeply funny joke that I did not understand upon first hearing it, but now find it endlessly amusing:

“Capitalism promises the most efficient quality of life”

Although not wild about the excesses of unions myself, I am surprised that the obvious merit of such a program is not self-evident across most classes of employees. Even an omnipotent god, according to some sources, found a period of rest beneficial.
 
There is a school of thought, and I believe there are some formal studies to back this up, that presenteeism makes people feel more vital, connected, and essential than they actually are. As noted by the OP, he feels as if it would be "torture" to break from his self-imposed chains.

Kindly define what a "non-critical" employee might be, or contrariwise, what would distinguish such from the "critical". Aye, I too had a period of my life when I was working 80+ hours per week of my own accord. In the post hoc analysis, I was probably more productive than I'd have been at 40 hours, but probably less than I'd have been at 50, which for me, appeared true under test (define "productive" if you have difficulty believing this claim).
 
+gayle noble My assumption is that if you have customers around the world then that you would have a rolling staff of people (in one country or more) to support them. The expectation won't be that one person is available 24x7.

+matt wartell Love the god comment. :) In writing non-critical I was thinking of jobs like a sys admin who might have to be on call because the data center can't go down. Perhaps a specialist doctor. There are jobs where 24x7 is important. For 99% of us I bet that is not the case. Yet we are on 24x7.
 
+Avinash Kaushik all it's about expectations and context. It impossible to have one person consantly checking email 24x7, that shoud be helpdesk work. However, we can have a #2 level support in some jobs where people need to be available 24x7 via phone call from helpdesk.
Please, allow us to block some weeks!
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