"BlackBerry blackouts" aim for life/work balance

Fri Feb 1, 2008 3:43pm EST
 
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - It may be wishful thinking, but a Canadian government ministry has sent out a directive to its employees urging them to relax and not to use their BlackBerry smartphones at night or on weekends and holidays.

Trying to re-establish a proper balance between work and life, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is starting by trying to cut the chains to what some have called CrackBerries.

The department's deputy minister, Richard Fadden, sent out a memo asking employees to implement a BlackBerry "blackout" between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and on weekends and holidays.

"Work/life quality is a priority for me and this organization because achieving it benefits us both as individuals and as a department," Fadden wrote.

"When we can 'balance' our work and personal responsibilities, we, as a team, stand to not only serve and perform more effectively, but also to attract and keep employees to help us build a stronger Canada."

BlackBerries, made by Canadian-based Research In Motion, are handheld communication devices that can be used to send e-mails and make phone calls -- thus allowing people to bring the office to their homes, vehicles or even the ski slopes.

They have become an essential workplace tool in politics, business and the professions.

Fadden also asked employees not to use BlackBerries during meetings and also not to schedule meetings over lunch.   Continued...

 
<p>File photo shows a Research in Motion Blackberry i in Toronto October 26, 2007. A Canadian government ministry has sent out a directive to its employees urging them to relax and not to use their BlackBerry smartphones at night or on weekends and holidays. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>