A Better Kind of Blackberry Blackout

February 19, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A recent blackout, the second in less than a year, for Research-in-Motion's Blackberry service, grabbed headlines recently.

But, believe it or not, a Canadian government ministry has sent out a directive to its employees calling for another type of “blackout” – a voluntary one.

Trying to re-establish a proper balance between work and life, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which manages immigration and resettlememt services for the Canadian government, is trying to cut the cords that so frequently keep workers attached to their jobs. Reuters reports that the department’s deputy minister, Richard Fadden, has 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, according to the report. “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.”

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

“I expect that some of you will consider the above a bit artificial. They may be a little, but I believe we have to start somewhere, and since reducing the quantity of work is unlikely to yield short-term results, we are ‘attacking’ some of the stresses around work,” he said.

He said he understood there might be times when implementing all his requests won’t be possible, but people should do their best to respect the new rules.

Still – what if we all tried it…just for a weekend…