Working in corporate America has its moments, for sure. Like the one when you start your day and discover that over the night, your co-workers in Australia, India and Europe where busy sending you hundreds of new emails. Many of them are not really relevant. Actually from my personal expereince it is more like 9 out of 10 internal emails are not relevant. This is the self infacted spam that spam solutions just do not catch. Emails from corporate functions announcing things i do not care about, emails from dear friends that include everyone just so they are sure that if something bad happens they could say that they informed everyone, email from other dear friends that include executive so their work can be noticed, and even emial notifying me that someone left his car light opened in the parking lot. That is a flood of emails, some of them are long emails that delays the work in the organization and preventing us to get to the real work.
In way too many cases, one can ask himself why people are sending this email? Why can’t they just IM the right person or make phone calls or exclude me from the distribution list? Why can’t the emails be smaller and just talk to the point instead the lengthy text that explains all the things I already know? With the new way we can communication today, the key question is whether email is the right media for all of this communication or are there ways to get more efficient by sending less emails?
Feeling the pain personally, I was just too happy to read that others are sharing the same thoughts. A post in TechCrunch today “Solving Email Overload With A Company-Wide Ban” made me smile today. They quote Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, as setting up a “zero email” policy within a year-and-a-half. Atos is a well know European provider of IT services, with over 70,000 employees. While I am not sure they can actually meet a complete zero email (i.e. there is still some value in emails), I do feel that trying to get there is a great journey to travel, just hearing the CEO talk about the subject probably immediately mad people rethink the use of email and consider other communication alternatives. It would have been great if Atos could share more information about this experiment, how they plan to get there and even share some statistics about internal email flood reduction. Great approach and I wish them all the success to reach their goal!