Why don’t they just turn it off?

Apparently some genius German workers have cut a deal with their bosses to stop getting management emails on their Blackberrys after hours:

The tyranny of the out-of-hours email from the boss has plagued workers the world over ever since the introduction of the BlackBerry.

Now, after years of subjugation, one group of workers has struck a blow for freedom: 1000 employees of the German car giant Volkswagen.

In a move designed to restore the sacred Teutonic concept of “feierabend” – strictly no work out of factory hours – the vehicle maker’s works council, backed by its most powerful trade union, this year struck an agreement with the company that from now on email will be disabled for the selected BlackBerry-equipped staff when they are not in the office.

These employees now receive emails only from half an hour before the start of working hours and half an hour after they end. They can still receive and make phone calls.

Hans-Joachim Thust, a workers’ spokesman, suggested that mobile phones and BlackBerry handsets could disrupt family life and lead to employee burn-out. “The new possibilities of communication also contain inherent dangers.”

Volkswagen staff were said to have become fed up with being treated as if they were permanently available to their bosses. There were reports of employees having romantic evenings or a relaxing bath disrupted by infuriating management messages.

As is usual from a race of people who don’t even have a word for fluffy, they have over engineered the solution. Why couldn’t these cunning German workers simply have turned off the phone?


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  • Michael

    Or just ignored the emails, like I do.

  • Or people could just not send them.  

  • Anonymous

    Easier said than done when your job and promotion prospects depend on it.

    • Michael

      If it was urgent, they can call me.  Email is not an urgent communication.

  • Bunswalla

    Why should they have to turn off their phones and not use them for personal calls, emails etc?

  • Kthxbai

    The solution is simple – own a personal phone/smartphone/whatever, give the number only to people you want to hear from, don’t let work know it exists. 

    Make sure you have backup systems in place for any work emergencies, and then turn the work phone off unless it’s your turn on call or second-on call.

    I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and it’s wonderful to be unreachable for trivial crap after hours.

  • Kthxbai


    Oh, and have caller id on your home phone, answer only calls from people you want to talk to.

  • Gazzaw

    Why didn’t they just turn it off?

    Simple. Because they were just obeying orders.