Add this one to the list of reasons Europeans have it better than we do, right after diesels and manual transmissions: No more "catching up on e-mail" while you should be spending time with your family. Or sleeping. Or watching Baywatch reruns.

According to the BBC, Volkswagen has bowed to demands from its trade unions to limit corporate e-mail access by turning off its Blackberry servers 30 minutes after the close of business, and leaving them off until the next morning. The agreement comes after some workers complained that their home and work lives were overlapping. The BBC says this may be part of a growing trend in Europe, where CEOs are recognizing that tethering their employees to smart phones may not be such a good thing.


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  • 47 Comments
      haji
      • 3 Years Ago
      So VW employees are conpletely free from work during off duty? That sounds like heaven from Japanese standards!
      mikecalabrese
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just turn the phone off when you go home.
      Swede
      • 3 Years Ago
      A wise decision.
      Marvin
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great gift from one of my favorite websites!!
      Luis
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder if the "unions are evil" people will show up to bash this result from demands by unions like they are bashing them in the UAW article. Hell, I wonder if any of them even know that they have a weekend, paid leave (vacations) and minimum wages thanks to those same unions they like to hate lately. Doesn't mean unions can't be crooked but I wonder how many of them would part with their weekends and vacation time (even those special holidays like tomorrow) in order to get "rid" of unions.
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Luis
        Luis, it's not unions that are evil it's the UAW that is evil (the management, not the workers). I don't know enough about German unions to know if they are good or bad but from what I have seen so far they are more helpful than the UAW. I doubt they would have put up with workers getting drunk and high on their lunch break. And they sit on the company board so they know exactly what shape the company is in financially and don't make demands for money and bennies that the company can't afford or pushes them towards insolvency. These are probably clerical unions demanding this, not assembly line unions. Why would someone who bolts in a transmission have a blackberry for office email???
      tegdesign
      • 3 Years Ago
      Add to what list? If the list of reasons Europeans have it better that we do in the USA consists of one line item, a better selection of Euro cars with diesel engines then okay. In most every other way we here in the USA enjoy a much better standard of living. I lived in Europe for nearly a decade and had was paid quite well in comparison to the majority of people there, but after moving back to the USA had a better standard of living than I had there on nearly no income at all. We have it very good, and despite the daily attack on personal freedom and ever increasing taxes, regulation and government intrusion, have more liberty than most around the world.
        AldenBiesen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tegdesign
        Again with the Europe..... We're all different countries. one Euro country is not the next. Plenty of Brits also travel to the Benelux for medical care because we have much more doctors per person than in the UK so practically no waiting lists. And when it comes to cancer treatment and such, many people from all over the world also travel to the Benelux. Some things are better here, some there. It all depends on what you're looking for.
          AldenBiesen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AldenBiesen
          Brits aren't exactly among the wealthiest western Europeans, but whatever... You people simply don't know any better. "Americans defined as "poor" by our government (didn't they up the number recently?) would be well off in most of continental Europe" That would be EASTERN EUROPE.
          Frank
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AldenBiesen
          He's right. It's not possible to compare the two. Too many apples and oranges. The UK I think is better off than most Euro countries (notice they still have the pound and not the "Euro"), yet there are still many Brits who come to America. The continent is a different story. Americans defined as "poor" by our government (didn't they up the number recently?) would be well off in most of continental Europe. It's all how you define the numbers - like the xxx million uninsured (the real number has always been much lower - but then you wouldn't be demanding our government do something then would you?), or the xxx millions unemployed (the number is much higher than what the official statistics are). The real test for America is are people trying to come to America or leave it? It has always been that they want to come here. But I am hearing more and more are thinking about leaving now.
          AldenBiesen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AldenBiesen
          And we get plenty of immigrants her as well... Not all of them poor Muslims, either. In fact, there's quite a few north American in lving in cities like Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussels, etc. Stop overcompensating and actually inform yourselves.
        AndyMidd
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tegdesign
        It depends on what you class as 'standard of living'. In the UK I get 27 days holiday + Bank Holidays. In the US I take the standard is 10 days if you are lucky. I also work a 37 hour week - I have some friends that work 35. I assume 39-40 is typical in the US. Everyone has healthcare here. Nobody goes bankrupt if they get cancer because the insurance company is done paying, for example. In terms of pay, it is hard to compare, but a software dev here averages about 33-36K GBP. I think it is around 60-70 USD over there, depending on the area - which compares fairly evenly. Sure, our houses are smaller, and some things are more expensive here, but from my experience of the US, that are plenty of things that more expensive there as well. If you wanter a bigger house and more cars, then sure, the US has a better 'standard of living'.
          jvshenderson
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AndyMidd
          It certainly does happen, teg, that people go deep in debt due to illness. Count yourself and your family friends lucky that you don't know anyone in this unfortunate situation. You're right that we do have the most high-tech medical care in the world (most of it is developed here) but we pay far higher healthcare costs than any other country, partly because of our insurance system and partly to finance the development of more medical technologies and drugs. Personally, I'd take a pay cut to live in Europe and work less hours, get more vacation, etc. Their attitude about work vs leisure is much more balanced than ours....
          tegdesign
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AndyMidd
          I'm glad you are happy, but I don't know anyone who has gone bankrupt from an illness, and when I go to the doc. or hospital I don't feel like I'm in cold war Romania. I was on a 44,000 sterling a year income and I would have needed double to have the same food, drink, house, car, travel, hobbies as I can have here on the 55,000 I made before moving to the UK. I also know that if a European can afford it, they fly to the USA for medical work. I did enjoy easy inexpensive travel in Europe and spending my pounds in countries like SA, Egypt, and Spain since the currency was valued so much higher.
          tegdesign
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AndyMidd
          Pubs should be on the list as well as the historical architecture.
        Polly Prissy Pants
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tegdesign
        They're probably talking those lists like Mercer's "Quality of Living Survey" or the WHO's list of the world's best healthcare systems.
      ragtopdodge
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Germans export 4x as many good as the US, but they have paid healthcare, unions, and better standard of living. And Germany is flush w/cashing bailing out OTHER countries! A model we should follow
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        In order to do that we would have to protect out markets. And demand fair trade not free trade. Read the "The Great Betrayal" by Pat Buchanan or "Agents of Influence" by Choate (can't remember his first name0.
        nitrostreet
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        Funny, what you say is opposite what this business site says noting that the US has the highest immigration rates of any country, while noting Germany has one of the highest emigration rates of any country (Which they attribute to “high taxes and bureaucracy") http://www.businesspundit.com/12-countries-with-the-highest-lowest-tax-rates/
          Jordan Andrews
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nitrostreet
          haha yeah okay your right, I missed that. This is the article I read: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20111222-39683.html And notice their unemployment rate is 6.4%, the lowest for Germany in over 20 years. Keep in mind both articles are somewhat bias based on the countries they originate from.
          Jordan Andrews
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nitrostreet
          Germany is having huge increases in immigration now because every other country in Europe is falling apart.
          nitrostreet
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nitrostreet
          Did you read what that link said about the people immigrating into Germany, though?
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        In order to do that we would have to protect out markets. And demand fair trade not free trade. Read the "The Great Betrayal" by Pat Buchanan or "Agents of Influence" by Choate (can't remember his first name).
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        Sorry for the double post - the great AB comment system at it again!
      Svartorn
      • 3 Years Ago
      Once again, the Germans showing the US how it is done. Higher productivity, higher pay, more vacation.
      amie704
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lazy @zz people. At least they have a job to complain about.
      thedriveatfive
      • 3 Years Ago
      Im sure some users with free phones were using there business calling plans for non business activity.
        kevsflanagan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        I'm pretty positive business plans such as these ones have unlimited data plans due to the usage of email.
      AudiA4
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seriously? This requires some sort of top-down mandate system-wide?!!!! Sheesh! If it's personally bothersome, THEN JUST TURN YOUR PHONE OFF!
        kevsflanagan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AudiA4
        Audi44 why didnt you reply to that email I sent you? I needed those figures this morning for the meeting I'm about to go to in 10 minutes! Oh you turned it off to spend time with your family? Oh ok then know what.. you are going to spend a lot more time with them now. Your FIRED! ^Thats why. With this people can turn them off without fear of repercussions. I know foolish and stupid but apparently I'm assuming it got to that level.
      rbnhd1144
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tethered, its amazing what you can do to employees once youve given them a cell phone, Some employees used to drive around for the companies benefit with no distractions, now the boss can be in constant contact and know your every move, all while putting your life at risk... people are lead around just like sheep, No thanks.
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