Nightly News   |  January 14, 2012

Email bog you down? Relief in sight

Employers seem to get the message that workers can’t disconnect from work-related emails. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now, something that a lot of folks can relate to, being tethered to e-mail, responding to the blackberry messages long after you left the office. seems more and more employees are being fed up with not being able to disconnect from work e-mail and now companies are making changes. here's nbc's ron allen .

>> reporter: it is a problem that is only getting worse in our constantly connected world.

>> first thing i do when i wake up is check my black berry .

>> the last thing i look at when before i go to bed at night.

>> reporter: information overload. e-mail, all hours of day and night . virtually blurring the lines between work and off work.

>> i walked down the aisle with my blackberry.

>> reporter: this man runs a small boston p.r. firm that gets 1200 e-mails each day.

>> you're putting in 12, 13 hours a day and you're commating another four or five hours at home. it's too much.

>> reporter: he is trying the give his team a break. he put up an out of office response to e-mail received after 5:30 until 8:30 the next morning. 22% of employees who use e-mail at work say they're expected to read and respond to messages away from the office. and that number nearly doubles to 48% if they have issued a smartphone or blackberry. there may a worldwide backlash brewing. in brazil, workers who answer e-mails after the work day ends may now qualify for overtime pay. company e-mail is the same as an order from the boss. and in germany, car giant volkswagen has agreed to stop sending e-mail to some workers after their shifts.

>> i do expect that we will see more companies with policies that limit e-mail. it solves a long-standing irritant and they should see productivity improvements from limiting the e-mail.

>> reporter: the new limited e-mail policy a few weeks ago.

>> we're still getting the e-mails at night and on the weekends, but we don't have to respond to them.

>> reporter: if all of this turns out to be bad for business, the boss can still reach everyone with a cell phone. ron allen , nbc news, new york.