The Internet has shrunk the world in terms of the way people communicate by making it possible to send an email from Oslo and have it show up in Cleveland almost immediately. But that instant contact has wrecked the work/life balance for many. They get home from a long day at the office, yet they can never fully put their feet up and relax because another hour or more of checking and replying to emails awaits. However, German automotive giant Daimler is putting an end to that churn, at least while its employees are on vacation.

About 100,000 Daimler employees in Germany are eligible to opt-in to a new program called Mail on Holiday, according to The Atlantic. When the workers go on vacation, they can switch it on, and the service auto-deletes all of their incoming email. "Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work-related emails," said Wilfried Porth, board member for human resources, to The Financial Times as cited by The Atlantic.

Mail on Holiday puts a thumb on the scale of work/life balance in favor of a little more free time. The system means that Daimler employees shouldn't even be tempted to check their email on vacation because there's nothing there – and it also avoids them coming back from a relaxing holiday only to find a mailbox packed full of hundreds of unread messages. These days, people are absolutely obsessed with their work, often to the detriment of their health, not to mention spending time with their families and friends. On one hand, Mail on Holiday sounds like the sort of vacation breakthrough we'd need to truly unplug and unwind, but on the other hand, it makes our skin crawl just thinking about the lack of communication. What's your perspective? Have your say in Comments.


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  • 36 Comments
      Ricky G
      • 4 Months Ago

      Turning off the work email notification LED on my phone was the best thing I ever did - if those emails piss you off after hours / on weekends / vacation I suggest you do the same.

      lasertekk
      • 4 Months Ago

      They have it right.  When you're on vacation, you're on vacation.  If there's a problem, it's for those NOT on vacation to solve.  This workaholic thing will kill you early.  

        sniperhunter2001
        • 4 Months Ago
        @lasertekk

        Absolutely agree. Emails are supposed to be forwarded for those covering the person on vacation. 

        If a barista at a Starbucks takes a vacation, coffee continues to be served. The others have it covered. Same concept here. 

        Cory Stansbury
        • 4 Months Ago
        @lasertekk

        I worked a half day while on "vacation" and spent another 2 days stressing about something I couldn't fix. I'd say they have it right. We're doing it wrong these days.

      MechE
      • 4 Months Ago
      I can understand turning email service off but deleting all emails seems silly.  Don't they want to catch up and know what happened while they were gone? 
        jcar302
        • 4 Months Ago
        @MechE

        That's what i was thinking.

        Unless the system is more complex than it has been explained here, it's a recipe for disaster.

        This would have been awesome for GM and this ignition mess.   The execs could have just said, "hey, i was on vacation, i didn't get that email".

        The email should HELD, not deleted, and should have an automated response to the sender indicating the recipient is on vacation.


        fabulous71
        • 4 Months Ago
        @MechE

        That is what the person covering for you does when you get back to the office. Spend 1/2 hour getting a download. 

          MechE
          • 4 Months Ago
          @fabulous71
          I suppose a 30 minute conversation could get someone caught up on 3-5 days of missed work, depending on the situation that is. I think I'd rather not have my emails auto deleted.  I rarely delete old emails as it is. 
      jesscott
      • 4 Months Ago

      HA, the IRS is way ahead of that nonsense

      Lachmund
      • 4 Months Ago

      Great idea but I'm pretty sure it doesn't just get deleted. I'm sure the emails get forwarded or just held back.

      mikemaj82
      • 4 Months Ago

      Why would you check your work e-mail when you're not at work? Work email for work, personal email for home. It's as simple as that.

      XtremeMaC
      • 4 Months Ago

      If user checks their work email during vacation through Outlook/Lotus/etc on purpose then they're workaholics and should seek help. If it is the mobile devices phones/tablets then they should instead communicate with MS, Apple, Google and change the way they fetch emails. If the user entered vacation response, system should automatically realize that and should not notify the user of emails from that account. end of story.. Of course you can go into settings and change few things around, but I suppose people are lazy!

      If there is something life/death matter what happens? Employee is out of country and cell phone not working...emails getting deleted..though luck for the company right?

      Deleting is the stupidest idea ever! 

      jebibudala
      • 4 Months Ago

      Not much different than my "Select All + Delete" policy I use during the work week.

      Hajime1990 #follow
      • 4 Months Ago

      anything s fine. as long as they don t blame any fault on the suppliers.

      v6sonoma
      • 4 Months Ago

      I can only imagine the chaos this would cause. Having little to no back story on issues, possibly missing important things, etc. I can understand wanting to be unplugged while on vacation but I think having a delete all is probably not the best solution. 

        superchan7
        • 4 Months Ago
        @v6sonoma

        Really should be assigned to the person covering for you while you're on vacation.  Hopefully the delete thing is just a misunderstanding.

      wilkegm
      • 4 Months Ago

      This seems like a resolution between employees deleting all e-mail received during a vacation and mgmt. 

      "didn't yoo reed ze eail I zent you?"

               "I dileetet it. I vos on Vacation. Not my respozibilidi"

      "UNVERSCHAEMTHEIT!"

               "Vee schudd hef a Polisi abaut ziss"

        wilkegm
        • 4 Months Ago
        @wilkegm

        Upon further reading, the source article explains it much better. 

      Card13
      • 4 Months Ago

      That's German work culture summed up. They are serious as hell about getting work done, but they are equally serious about having a life outside of work. If you have to stay late at work, it's not looked at as a good thing, it's blamed on you being too inefficient during normal hours to get everything done. American companies tend to encourage people to be "go-getters" and sacrifice their personal lives for the job. Notice that the average number of hours per day and average days per year worked are waaayyy higher than what is typical in Europe. 

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