VW Is Right: Shut Off the BlackBerries
Why automaker's move to unplug employees makes sense
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 3, 2012 11:33 AM CST
This picture shows a collection of Blackberry devices at a small restaurant in Jakarta on December 10, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Three cheers for Volkswagen! The German automaker has decided to turn off the email server for its employees' BlackBerries every day before and after work, and Roger Cohen of the New York Times thinks it’s a visionary move. Constantly being plugged into work has real costs, and while employees should be able to switch off on their own, BlackBerries are actually addictive. “Nobody expects addicts to self-administer the right medicine without help,” he writes.

Yes, connectivity helps productivity. But “it can also be counterproductive,” Cohen argues, thanks to “that contemporary state of anxiety in which focus on any activity is interrupted by the irresistible urge to check email or texts.” What’s more, we lose sight of where we are, inhabiting a “diffuse cyberlocation” instead. Even if your company doesn’t stage an intervention, he recommends unplugging. “Nobody will ever lie on his or her deathbed and say: ‘I should have kept my device on longer.’”

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Jan 3, 2012 8:42 PM CST
Stupid . Can't sell cars no one is there to make. SELL VW!
Jan 3, 2012 1:54 PM CST
I had a boss who was addicted. All managers were required to respond to any of his messages within 15 minutes unless you were on a flight....period....no exceptions. During a major whiteout blizzard, stuck in Chicago, he rented a car and hauled 3 of us back to Indianapolis. He was texting. One arm through the steering column. Refused to allow anyone else to drive. I told him to quit texting or pull the damned vehicle over and let me out....I was serious...he settled down. This was a 6-figure income position for me, sooo before anyone passes their opinion, walk a mile in my shoes. Turning my back at the airport, refusing to travel would have ended my position....no doubt. We were friends for 10 years prior. We went separate ways 4 years ago and HAVE NEVER SPOKEN SINCE. I retired 3 years ago. God Bless VW for making this decision. NOTHING, except life decisions are soooooo important in the scheme of things, now are they?!
Jan 3, 2012 12:49 PM CST
“Nobody will ever lie on his or her deathbed and say: ‘I should have kept my device on longer.’”..........apart from the guy who wouldn't pick up when the red light was blinking with message - Call us urgently, WE JUST FOUND THE CURE ............