Major IT Firm Says Goodbye to the Email

By Beecher Tuttle December 05, 2011

Anyone with an office job can tell you that a small part of each day is dedicated toward deleting spam and leafing through emails that have little significance on our daily work life. So would if we just got rid of the practice all together and simply stopped sending emails?

As crazy as it sounds, this is plan being set into motion by one of the world's largest tech companies, France-based Atos, which is instituting a “zero email” policy for internal communication. Instead of relying on email, Atos employees will be forced to communicate through instant messaging, a Facebook-style interface or dreaded face-to-face conversations.

The company's high-profile chief executive, Thierry Breton, told ABC News that the vast majority of emails are a waste of time, with just 10 percent of the 200 received each day being considered useful. Meanwhile, nearly double that number – 18 percent – is spam. Breton also says that it takes more than a minute to regain your concentration after dealing with an email.

With around 74,000 employees worldwide, the 18-month transition will be quite an aggressive change, with the exception of one Atos exec. Breton claims to have not sent an internal email in the three years that he has been on the job.

So far, Atos has managed to cut its reliance on internal emails by 20 percent, and expects to finish the job within the next year. Company spokeswoman Caroline Crouch told the news source that the overall response to the initiative “has been positive with strong take up of alternative tools.” She also stressed that Atos is looking to eliminate the reliance on internal emails; employees will still be allowed to communicate with partners and vendors via email.

Breton told The Daily Mail that the purpose of the initiative is to encourage the use of next-generation technologies and the spoken word.

“Companies must prepare for the new wave of usage and behavior,” he told the paper. “Emails cannot replace the spoken word.”

It will be interesting to see if Breton's idea holds any value. While it is certainly true that internal emails can hinder productivity, the same can surely be said about instant messaging tools and other real-time interfaces. If anything, these mediums encourage slacking off even more.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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