Forget Out of Office – Your Email’s Out in the Trash

22nd September 2014

I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted.

Harsh words, but nonetheless, words that a number of employees will soon be reading in one company that is looking to go a step further in respecting their employee’s downtime.

Daimler Tries New Tactic
German vehicle manufacturer Daimler is introducing a new policy whereby:
- An autoreply to the above effect will be sent to those who try to contact employees whilst they are on annual leave
- In addition to the deletion notification, the email will also state “Please contact another member of staff if it’s really important” or alternatively, those affected can “resend the email after [the employee is] back in the office”.

We’ve read recently about fears a growing number of employees have about receiving a work-related call whilst on annual leave. Of the belief that we ALL deserve a little R&R to unwind and regain our enthusiasm to achieve at work, we support this initiative.

Not everyone else does…

Counter Argument
Daimler set this new initiative up after learning of government-funded research about the work-life balance. However, input by representatives from both the BBC and Stevens & Bolton LLP claim otherwise. One reported that this idea was a nice one…but simply unworkable in a society where we demand 24 hour customer care and business accessibility. Another voices concerns of repercussions around sensitive or important emails that may not get resent and therefore not be dealt with, causing more serious complications further down the line. Finally, a third concern is if one company deletes your email, another won’t, giving a competitor an advantage.

Additional Steps

Daimler is ignoring these concerns though and trying it out – its employees are very lucky! Other steps they are taking are to:
- Set aside time where no meetings are scheduled
- Encourage staff to take off any extra hours they may have spent in the office

With personal resilience and stress so prevalent in our media, someone has to pioneer efforts to redefine that crucial work-life balance again. The gauntlet has been thrown…and Diamler’s picking it up.

"concerns of repercussions around sensitive or important emails that may not get resent"