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Germany: Volkswagen bans professional emails outside of working hours

No work emails between 6:150pm and 7am.  A few years ago, BlackBerries – portable devices to read and write emails – were, like company cars, a symbol of social status between managers.  Now, they have become much more common.  More and more businesses give BlackBerries to their non-executive staff to be able to reach them quickly and at any time.  1,154 non-executive Volkswagen staff currently have one.  However, according to Heinz-Joachim Thust, from VW’s WC, “the new forms of communication are also dangerous” – some managers expect their employees to be available all the time and to read their emails even during the night.  Therefore, the WC decided to negotiate a company agreement designed to prevent these risks.  Already in force, the agreement provides that the company’s servers will no longer forward these employees’ emails to their BlackBerries starting at 6:15pm – 30 minutes after the last employees leave the office –, until 7am the next day – 30 minutes before the first employees arrive.  However, the BlackBerry may still be used as a regular phone during this time.  “The agreement was very well received,” Thust says.

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