Has the global backlash against the 24/7 workday just begun? If so, sign me up. It appears that Volkswagen has agreed to an email blackout for its German employees who are off-duty.
Reuters reports that Volkswagen management has reached an agreement with labor representatives, one that places strict limits on when the automaker's employees can receive work emails via their Blackberry phones.
Specifically, work emails are limited to a half-hour before the workday begins, to a half-hour after it ends.
Congrats, Volkswagen proletariat. Your free time is now free. Fahrvergnügen? Ja.
Sadly, the new email rules won't apply to Volkswagen's executive staff, but one must assume that they're compensated accordingly. And many of the company's workers, such as those responsible for keeping systems running around the clock, will be exempt from the after-hours email ban as well.
Could a similar email blackout happen in the U.S.? One study found that most Americans check their email every 15 minutes or so. Of course, this doesn't mean everyone is answering the boss's emails around the clock, but many of us are.
So how can you regain your email-free time? Well, short of an Occupy-style, anti-email movement, there are several quick steps you can take. Here are five from PCWorld contributor JR Rafael:
1) Give yourself an email curfew and stick to it.
2) Schedule set email times.
3) Set aside a "no email" day."
4) Take a vacation…without a phone, laptop, tablet, or other electronic device.
5) There are no email emergencies. If it's urgent, the sender will call, text, or find another way to reach you.