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Enforced Vacation: Keeping Personal Time Safe from Work Email

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Posted on 11/17/2014

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True story. One of my sales engineers came into my office and said,

“[Employee name] is in the emergency room and getting prepped for emergency gall bladder surgery. And he’s answering help tickets.”

I try to stop employees from looking at work email. It’s bad for their personal life when work is always pinging them. And it’s bad for our company because it makes employees less productive and less innovative. 

Somehow we’ve moved to a new norm where we’re always connected to work email. It wasn’t a sudden shift, it just sort of happened. And yet it’s awful for everyone.

The Solution: Enforced Vacation

So I decided to do something about it. We created a new Windward product named Enforced Vacation.

EnforcedVacationChill3-300x88Enforced Vacation is simplicity itself. During off times, like weekends or vacations, incoming emails are paused. That means emails sent are received, but they are held so the recipient doesn’t actually see them. And when the employee is back on work time, the emails are “released” — viewable to the recipient.

All of your existing emails are still in your inbox. You can still send emails. In addition, you can make exceptions.

For example, you can set it so that emails marked high priority, emails from specific people, and/or emails with specific words in the subject line still come through. So if you’re enjoying the weekend, you’ll still get that email saying “What is the new password to the corporate website?!!!!”

Stop Working After Work

Enforced Vacation is good for companies and employees. You benefit at home from reduced stress and truly free time, and that makes you more productive at work. You won’t even remember that Enforced Vacation is on, except when you recall how you used to let work email interrupt your home time.

You can check it out at the Enforced Vacation website.

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Author: David Thielen

Dave, Windward's founder and CEO, is passionate about building superb software teams from scratch and dramatically improving the productivity of existing software teams. He's really proud that he once created a game so compelling (Enemy Nations) that a now-professional World of Warcraft player lost his job for playing it incessantly on company time. You can read more from Dave on his personal blog, and at Huffington Post.

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