Henry Blodget | Dec. 4, 2011, 10:46 AM
A huge French company has just banned the use of email within the company. Instead, having concluded that the vast majority of email is just time-wasting noise, it is switching all employees to a Facebook-like interface and instant messaging.
The company is Atos. Susanna Kim of ABC reports:
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, Atos’s CEO, says he hasn’t sent an email in three years. (And he’s obviously managed to keep his job.)
This trend at the corporate level mirrors email trends among young people–the future workforce. As the chart below shows, the use of web-based email by the younger crowd is plummeting, as these folks communicate via Facebook, IM, and texting instead.
Email is still an extremely convenient way to communicate, so it’s not likely to go anywhere. But there’s no question that email is losing share of digital communications, including in the workplace. And that’s not good for companies that depend on it for their livelihoods.