Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy

ABC News
Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy
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Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy (ABC News)

(Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

You’ve got mail–not. Employees of tech company Atos will be banned from sending emails under the company’s new “zero email” policy.

CEO Thierry Breton of the French information technology company said only 10 percent of the 200 messages employees receive per day are useful and 18 percent is spam.  That’s why he hopes the company can eradicate internal emails in 18 months, forcing the company’s 74,000 employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging and a Facebook-style interface.

Caroline Crouch, a spokeswoman for the company, told ABC News the goal is focused on internal emails rather than external emails with clients and partners. Atos has already reduced the number of internal emails by 20 percent in six months.

When asked how employees have responded to the policy, Crouch told ABC News the overall response “has been positive with strong take up of alternative tools.”

Breton,  the French finance minister from 2005 to 2007, told the Wall Street Journal he has not sent an email in the three years since he became chairman and CEO of Atos in November 2008.

“We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives,” he said in a statement when first announcing the policy in Feburary. “At [Atos] we are taking action now to reverse this trend, just as organizations took measures to reduce environmental pollution after the industrial revolution.”

Atos had revenue last year of of EUR 8.6 billion, or $11.5 billion, and has offices in 42 countries, according to the company website.

The company says by 2013, more than half of all new digital content will be the result of updates to, and editing of existing information. Middle managers spend more than 25 percent of their time searching for information, according to the company.

Crouch said Atos is evaluating a number of new tools to replace internal email including collaborative and social media tools. Those include the Atos Wiki, which allows all employees to communicate by contributing or modifying online content, and Office Communicator, the company’s online chat system which allows video conferencing, and file and application sharing.

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