Employers calling time out on handhelds

New York Times op-ed columnist Roger Cohen writes about the wisdom of knowing when to switch off handheld devices. Some employers are even mandating this to avoid employee burnout.

Photo: Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline/ Flickr.com

In A Time to Tune Out, Cohen points to employers such as Volkswagen, which has recently agreed to stop the e-mail server to its BlackBerry-using employees a half-hour after their shift ends, only restoring it 30 minutes before work begins the next day.

The agreement, for now, affects about 1,150 of the auto maker’s more than 190,000 workers in Germany, but it’s a start in encouraging employees to switch off.

“To be permanently switched on is also to switch off to what takes time to be seen,” writes Cohen. “A lot of good ideas, as well as some of life’s deeper satisfactions, can get lost that way.”

Cohen says companies are beginning to perceive these types of costs. Volkswagon isn’t the only one–Thierry Breton, the chief executive of Atos, the French information technology services giant, has said he plans to ban internal e-mail altogether from 2014. Breton says workers are wasting hours of their lives on internal messages at home and work.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more about the value of switching off, read Is it Time to Unplug? and Tech Support for the Hopelessly Connected, by Elisha Goldstein.