By Siegfried Lautenbacher Aug 19, 2014

Translation of the Original Article by Siegfried Lautenbacher 

Much excitement and chatter on Twitter and Facebook, in blogs and online news. What happened?

Daimler announces that vacationing employees can enable the feature "Mail on Holiday", which means that incoming e-mails will automatically be deleted and the sender receive a message that their message was not delivered. The system has already been tested last year, and provided for this summer. Apart from what happens if the Sender is also on vacation in the meantime and also on "Mail on Holiday", I find the public debate interesting. There are the Enterprise 2.0 missionaries who instantly bring Enterprise Social Networks into play and dismiss the action as not effective: symptoms would be “doctored”, but the cause is not addressed. And then there are the work-life balancers that praise the Daimler HR Board, because it enables the employees a stress free return to the job.

I will not allow myself an evaluation or assessment of the action. I would be interested how many mailbox holders at Daimler use this function (and if it is also permitted to the Board assistants) and how their experiences are with it. Here I hope for substantive articles and information after the holiday period.

I decided on this short blog post, when I read an article by Michael Silverberg (@mbd_s) this morning, who writes: „The goal of those initiatives and Daimler’s new policy is the same: to reduce stress on German workers, who already work, on average, 400 hours less annually than Americans„. 

Haha. That hits home. My experience and knowledge on this: Only one thing helps against the stress with email: a sovereign handling and the empowerment of employees. It is not the technical systems that bring a solution – but the focus on our behavior.

·        The knowledge when which medium is the right one, and the right variety of tools from the company.

·        Unsubscribe Newsletters regularly

·        The proper handling of „out-of-office“messages and delegation rules.

·        Being able to decide when to process which emails and which emails not to read. Learning methods for this.

·        Simply switching the smartphone off. (It is just like smoking… just let it be.)

Sometimes I get the feeling that our companies prefer to impose technical regulations instead of investing in the power of trust. It might be a transitional phenomenon. Email is not that old yet!

PS: I’ll be off on vacation as of next week. Three weeks. Write a mail to me!