French tech firm Atos has started to implement a new policy where its 70,000+ employees will not send and receive any internal email anymore. CEO Thierry Breton notes that only 10% of the 200 messages employee get in their inbox every day are are useful: about 18% is spam.
The plan is to move from email to alternative ways of communicating internally within 18 months from now. Apparently Atos has already reduced the amount of email by 20 percent in six months, but now the goal has been set to quit email completely.
Back in February the policy was already announced, but the time has come that the implementation is taking effect. Alternatives to email for internal communications will include Atos Wiki, which gives employees the tools to communicate by contributing or modifying online content (sounds a bit like Google Wave) and Office Communicator. That last platform is the company’s online chat system which supports video conferencing and file/app sharing.
According to a spokesperson employee response has been positive and they are already digging into the new tools for internal communication.
In the end, employees will still have an email client for outside communications so email will still be part of the channels available: however new channels/platforms will have to be used for internal communication.
It is not clear whether Atos has proposed rigorous rules on internal email to stem the tide at first: 200 emails a day seems a bit much, especially if only 10% is useful. For internal communications email should be fine, as long as it’s used correctly. This last bit goes for all communications tools, so I wish them good luck in using Atos Wiki and Office Communicator as alternatives.