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Volkswagen shuts off Blackberry feeds in 'off hours'

Volkswagen shuts off Blackberry feeds in 'off hours'

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The policy only applies to certain trade union employees, and senior managers are exempt.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the move by one very large technology integrator, Atos, to essentially ban internal email in an order to push reset on the way its employees collaborate and communicate. Now, the BBC is reporting that Volkswagen has approved an IT policy that prevents BlackBerry email servers from sending emails to some of its employees when they aren't officially on the clock

So, here's the clincher: This just applies to certain employees that work for trade unions.

According to the BBC article, the IT policy that Volkswagen has applied shuts off emails going to a person's BlackBerry 30 minutes before that person is going off shift. Then, email routing is turned on again about a hal-hour before the employee starts work hours.

The employees are allowed to make calls if they want, and the policy (as you might expect) doesn't apply to senior managers.

Mind you, European companies take the concept of people's personal lives a lot more seriously, historically speaking, than companies in the United States. Long-standing vacation policies are a perfect example of that. But this is a trend that managers should watch carefully, as more of their workers take their jobs mobile.

At some point, there is going to be a backlash with respect to just how long employees will agree to worry about their job, when they are supposed to be enjoying some family time. This will be especially true for any companies that still support extensive unionized workforces. In particularly, I am thinking about telecommunications field service representations, automotive production teams, and healthcare professionals (especially nurses).

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure