Is Volkswagen Starting a Trend by Curbing Company Email in Off Hours?

"Curbing company email"

Curbing company email

Volkswagen made some news recently when it came to an agreement with its unions to deactivate e-mail on company BlackBerries when its German staff members are off duty. Deutsche Telecom instituted a similar policy to give employees some time away from their smart phones.

Is this the start of a trend?

On All the Time

The on-all-the-time culture is spreading around the world. When business associates write to me in the evening or over weekends, they can usually expect a quick response – and vice versa.

There’s very little light left between work and leisure time. Companies are definitely worried about work-life balance because a burned-out employee isn’t very productive.

But wait a minute. How does this affect how many times my blog posts are retweeted or the number of comments that I get? This isn’t funny or off topic. Companies plan their social media campaigns around the times that consumers are tweeting and commenting – and that’s often after-hours on company smart phones.

Getting Measurable Traffic

I wrote about how to get traffic to your blog in an earlier post. From a study I quoted:

  • Timing: Blogs get the most views at 11 a.m., most comments between 8-9 a.m., most retweets at 4 p.m.
  • Post early in the week for views and links and on the weekend for comments.

If employees are tuning out email on their own time, will they also be turning off social networks like Facebook where consumer products companies are cashing in big time? Will they stop commenting on weekends?

No doubt social media fatigue is setting in. Twitter continues growing, but by some estimates close to 120 million accounts are dormant. Many users have only written a few tweets so they are hardly active.

Many businesses both large and small are jumping into social media to market to their customers, abandoning traditional channels like paid advertising.

It may be time to rethink throwing all your marketing resources into social media if the window for reaching buyers continues to narrow as customers tune out.

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  1. I feel it’s a great move by the company to focus on their employees’ welfare. Quality of life much depends on achieving better work-life balance and employees who get some quality time to spend with their family will prove to be more productive in their job.

  2. Very interesting post Jeannette. Isn’t it interesting how the Internet has enabled businesses to be able to transition from “business hours” to “24 hours” and society in general is starting to do the same? What many of us are forgetting is that, mechanical or technological failures aside, machines can run 24 hours a day, but humans can’t. We need our sleep, we need our relaxation time and, above all, sometimes we just need to switch off – computers and smartphones included.

    • Thanks, Andrew. It is pretty sad when the last thing you do in the evening is check your email and the first thing you do in the morning is check your email. What could possibly have come in while you were sleeping that could be so important? And, of course, we know traders get up in the middle of the night to see what’s happening in overseas markets. Pretty soon we’ll be up 24/7, catching catnaps when we can!