Work / Life Balance Challenges (Email after hours)

I was recently reading in an article, about a company (i think it was VW/Germany) who has imposed a ban (for a test group of employees), actually a technical block (Email only) in the usage of mobile devices – after the employee shift is over, in this case it was the Blackberry usage (but i am sure it could be done with other mobile systems also).

The decision to enable / disable the receiving / sending and usage of the Blackberry devices to (30 minutes before and after work hours) seems quite excessive, and although you can see the advantages of forcing staffer’s to take a “rest” – it has also in my opinion a very flawed.

Companies today (expect) critical staff and teams to be “on alert” – although not 24/7 – but still available. Hopefully these companies also appreciate and understand that the employee would be permitted certain “liberty and freedom of choice” of what, where and when.

Since the phone is not blocked (Email block only, via the Blackberry Enterprise Server) – staff would be accessible (if required) – but one of the advantages of having a “Smart Device” is due to the fact if the situation appear (and the need for a response/reach out” to fellow member, staff of supplier is required, the Smart Phone should/could provide this access.

The problem here is the “Employees Addiction” to Email and “Constant On” – not the technology. It is (imho) the organization’s responsibility to inform the staff and make them know that “it’s okay not to constantly check e-mail when they’re not at work” not to ban the “most disciplined of workers” those of us who already maintain a healthy work/life balance, might occasionally want or need to send an after-hours message via BlackBerry or smartphone.

I think it is important that we all (as employees the organisations we work for) are aware of the expectations and also provide a relevant feedback to our employer of what we expect when being “always available”.

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