Mobile network traffic around Washington, D.C., could get real quiet on Monday if furloughed government workers are told to stop using their government-issued devices. Then again, if the federal government does shut down, the employees deemed “non-essential” may just transfer their messages to another device.
Since furloughed employees are not permitted to perform official duties or volunteer for service, the thinking is they also can’t use BlackBerries or other devices to perform official duties. But a lot of confusion is in play as workers try to determine how tough their employers are going to take the rules that were set well before the onslaught of iPhones and BlackBerries.
A House Administration Committee memo advises offices to require furloughed employees to turn in their BlackBerries, laptops and cell phones and tell furloughed employees to set an “out of office” message on their email accounts.
Yet a lot of people are wondering: Who’s going to know if they sneak a peak at their email, and besides that, how are employees going to know when it’s time to return to work if they aren’t checking their email?
The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that some employees’ contingency plans involve forwarding work email to another address that can be accessed from a worker’s personal smartphone.