As part of a deal between the automaker and the works council, Volkswagen’s workforce in Germany will receive e-mails on the inboxes of their Blackberry devices for a period that starts 30 minutes before the flex-time working hours begin until 30 minutes after the shift ends. When e-mails continue to be received by the workers at any time of the day and night on their smartphones that the company provides, the risk of burnout is increased.
A VW spokesman said that the e-mail function will be deactivated at night but the workers can still receive and make phone calls.
Works council member Heinz-Joachim Thust said that Volkswagen's six plants in Germany have 1,154 pay-scale employees that have a smartphone device that VW furnished. The works council wants to oppose any expectation that employees have to be reachable always.
There have been very positive responses about this decision, according to Thust. Just two months ago, millions of Blackberry customers were upset by a three-day global service disruption, indicating just how dependent they were on the service.
Volkswagen, which includes the Audi, Skoda and Seat brands, recorded 7.51 million deliveries from January to November of 2011. It had posted a 15% climb for the month of November.