No more work emails on vacation - The next big thing ?

Email Simon Stratford

Fed up with constantly checking the Blackberry while on the beach ? Fearful of the backlog of emails when you're back in the office ?

These well-known work-related hazards could soon be a thing of the past, if one German company's idea catches on. Automaker Daimler is giving its 100,000 German employees the chance to be free from work constraints this summer. If they opt into the "mail on holiday" scheme then all their incoming emails will be deleted automatically, with the sender informed immediately.

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"Our employees who are on vacation should relax and not read business e-mails," Wilfried Porth, human resources and labor director at Daimler said in a press release on Wednesday.

"With 'mail on holiday, they have a clean desk after the holidays and no congestion in their inbox. This is an emotional relief."

Designed to put an end to intrusions on family time, the idea was developed after a trial period last summer. Any email bounce backs to senders and contains information on alternative contacts so that every request can still be processed quickly, the company said.

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It's not the first time schemes like this have been introduced in a country that is trying to reduce the heavy workload for its citizens. Back in 2011, Volkswagen agreed to halt emails being sent to company Blackberrys to some of its employees when they were off-shift.

Deutsche Telekom , meanwhile, has a "smart device policy" that allows employees to have communication-free time outside of their shifts. E.on and Henkel , two other German companies, also have policies to allow their workers some quality time away from work messages.

Ksenia Zheltoukhova, a research advisor at the U.K.'s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development believes that both government and companies have a responsibility to make sure workers have a certain amount of flexibility in their lives.

"It's a trend that we're seeing. Organizations are seeing that they need this regulation," she told CNBC via telephone.

In many cases it's the employer as well as the employee that benefits, she said. Although in some cases - and in some professions - there needs to be a level of flexibility whereby employees can answer emails out-of-hours, she added.

 

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