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Too Much Email? Eliminate It!

You may or may not have heard, employees are in a state of overload. They are drowning in data overload, and overflowing inboxes – it’s killing their productivity and costing companies tons. In a study Mindjet commissioned last November, the average employee in the UK receives thirty six emails a day and only is able to open twenty four of them – one third of daily emails aren’t even opened let alone read. This information overload is costing companies about two weeks’ worth of lost productivity. How are we to cope?

French CEO, Thierry Brenton, of Atos has an answer – Eliminate Email. All of it. Only ten percent of the 200 messages the average Atos employee receives per day are useful. Brenton is hoping that by eliminating these unnecessary internal emails he can increase productivity. Currently, middle managers at Atos spend “more than 25 percent of their time searching for information, according to the company” (ABC News).

Instead of using emails, employees at Atos are now communicating via instant messages and facebook-like collaboration applications. The response to the drastic switch has been “positive with [a] strong take up of alternative tools” according to Caroline Crouch, a spokeswoman for the Atos. Brenton is also a strong advocate of drinking his own champagne, having not sent a single email in the three years since becoming CEO in 2008.

Instead of relying on email, Atos is currently evaluating several new tools including collaborative and social media based ones. Could this be the emergence of a new trend? I believe so. With the emergence of project management tools like Asana, Cohuman and Do.com there is no longer a need to email internal team members to receive project status updates. Similarly, with video chatting tools, instant messages and social media tools, it’s just as easy to communicate in real time with team members. With these new tools, employee’s communication will actually improve because time will not be lost sifting through inboxes for relevant emails. 2012 could be an interesting year as we could see more companies simply eliminating email all together. To quote Bob Dylan, “the times, they are a-changing” and I don’t know about you but I like it!

Your Turn

Do you think it’s possible to be more productive without using email?

Do you think Brenton’s move to eliminate email will ultimately prove successful? Or is email a necessary tool for a company?

 

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