People have been talking about the death of email for a while now. Every time there’s a new, communications-focused technology, most notably Google Wave — and we all know how that went — email eulogies pop up all over the internet. It seems likely to me that email is here to stay, at least for a while longer, but if other companies follow the example of Atos, a 74,000 employee French tech company spanning 42 countries, email may actually begin its prophesied decline.
Atos has banned email. At least, they’ve banned it internally. That’s right, those 74,000 employees can no longer send each other minutiae-filled email chains that may or may not ever get fully read. They will no longer be able to forward jokes and silly messages throughout the company or the office. They will no longer be able to send on-line emails to avoid the potential perspiration of actually getting up from their desk and walking over to their friend and asking in person. I say good riddance.
Atos announced the no-email policy in February of 2011, but have now officially implemented it. CEO Thierry Breton, who was also the French finance minister from 2005-2007, said that employee emails are only 10 percent useful, and are 18 percent spam — which seems about right to me, considering the emails I’ve received in companies I’ve worked for. All to often, the emails would be useless time-wasters — especially the ones that involved questions from co-workers that didn’t actually read the email in the first place.
Atos isn’t leaving their employees without a digital option for communication, though. They are using tools such as the Atos Wiki and their Office Communicator chat program to allow employees to collaborate on documents and projects, as well as chat, video conference, and share applications and files.
I think the Atos approach is the only way for a company to successfully achieve adoption of internal social media tools and, so far, the only possible negative fallout I can see would be dependent on the tools they use and how user-friendly they are. They seem to be doing okay in that department, however, as Atos has reported to ABC News that employee response “has been positive with strong take up of alternative tools.”
What do you think of the Atos no-email policy? Is it the beginning of a massive “kill email” movement? Will it lead to better outside-company communications as well? Discuss in the comments.
Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy [ABC News on Yahoo.com]