Volkswagen limits employee Blackberry access

Volkswagen has taken the radical step of telling its employees that when they’re off the clock, they can’t check in on work stuff.

Specifically, Volkswagen servers will prohibit the routing of e-mails to an employee if it is more than 30 minutes before or after their scheduled work time.

Employees, however, are still allowed to use the device to make calls and access personal content.

The new restriction is specifically targeted to German employees who are part of the company’s unionized workforce. It came up as a stipulation in recent contract negotiations.

The BBC confirmed the policy, quoting the carmaker as saying, “We confirm that this agreement between VW and the company’s work council exists.” The company would not, however, expand on the issue.

Although there are many angles to a story like this, it can’t help but feel more like a response to a bygone era. It drums up memories of all those articles that used to come up about “Crackberries” and businesspeople being unable to turn off their company-issued phone.

Now, of course, “Crackberries” are quickly being replaced by iPhones and, in some cases, Android phones. In addition, now that remote VPN access is much more commonplace and telecommuting is growing in popularity, the whole story around how Blackberry is the device that ties work and personal life together, is a thing of the past. Perhaps just like Blackberry itself will be in the coming years.