After-Hours Email?

SRxA’s Word on Health was interested to learn that German car-maker Volkswagen is shutting down its BlackBerry email server 30 minutes after the workday ends.  For now, this policy is limited to its German workforce and does not include senior management.

Is this the start of a new trend towards better work life balance?  Or is it a case of “be careful what you wish for”?

Proponents argue that the email shut down is a baby step attempt to solve the growing problem of a 24/7 work culture.  While most of us know that it’s neither healthy nor sustainable to be on call all the time, we just can’t seem to help ourselves.  And although most after-hours email is non-essential, we perceive it as equally important.  When’s the last time you went out for a date/ dinner/drinks and you didn’t pull out your cell phone, at least once to check your messages?  Be honest!

The VW email shut down was negotiated by the German Trade Union as a working-condition improvement for its members.  Although some workers argued that it should be up to each individual to decide what is best for them, others felt they had to maintain after hours connectivity or be fired.   Shutting down the email server, they argue, levels the playing field for all employees.

But does this move provide more flexibility or less?  Night owls and early risers, may be at their most productive outside of traditional working hours.

Or, does the ban provide an opportunity for people to look at their own values and begin to chart a healthier and more balanced life for themselves.  Could an email blackout lead to greater productivity and less wasted effort?

We’re not sure.  Although preventing people from checking and sending email at night may decrease stress for some, it could equally increase stress for those already addicted.  In our “company first” culture, will employees comply with the letter of the rule, or find ways to work around it?  Will people just stay at work later, or switch to texting?

Or, are people ready to step back and re-engage with values that put themselves ahead of the company.  Let us know what you think by participating in the poll.

Smashing Pumpkins and Other Stories

CNN just came out with its New Year’s Honors List of the best health stories of 2011.

Topping their list: the deadly cantaloupe listeria outbreak, radiation threats following the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the inspiring recovery of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who suffered life-threatening brain injuries following an assassination attempt.   Head-injuries, Health Reform and HIV  also made the list.

While SRxA’s Word on Health has covered many of these stories, our Top 10 list, looks a little different.  In 2011,  more than 70,000people viewed the blog. Hemophilia came in at number 1, with three times more views than any other post, pushing last years winner, Pac-Man, into third place. Also up there, Alzheimer’s Disease, asthma and hepatitis A.

 Blog Title Views*
High Hopes for long-term Hemophilia B Therapy 9,841
Differentiating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lyme Disease 3,197
Pac-Man Physiology 3,152
Alzheimer’s Disease could be Reversed by Rheumatoid Arthritis Protein 2,553
Taking the Ouch out of Diabetes 1,033
Mysterious Hep A Immune Response 1,021
You Can Control Your Asthma 865
Eye injection that could save the sight of the over 30’s 851
Falling for Pumpkins 845
Prescription Abandonment 794

2011 SRxA’s Word on Health stats.

*Excludes views on the day posted as the lead story

Just making it into the top ten, our Halloween blog on pumpkins, viewed that day by a record 1,500 people.

What were your favorite posts of the year? What would you like to see more of in 2012? We look forward to hearing from you.

And don’t forget…SRxA can help you with your blog, social media strategy or any other communications need. Find out more by contacting us today.