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This Company Banned Email 5 Years Ago and Never Looked Back

Posted by on in Internet Search
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If you're a regular Inc.com reader, maybe you've heard of the company that banned email for a week. Or the founders of a $100 million business who gave up their personal email accounts entirely. But even though we all know email can be a huge time s... it's not possible for a large, multinational organization to give up internal email permanently, right?

Actually, no.


One French company has been experimenting with a radical reduction in email for no less than five years. The results of the lengthy experiment are just becoming clear. What's the verdict? Fewer messages can help people get way more done.


More time, more money, less email

That's the basic takeaway of a fascinating piece from management professor and Under New Management author David Burkus on the HBR blogs recently. It digs into the results of the effort, starting in 2011, of IT firm Atos Origin and its pioneering CEO Thierry Breton to try to get employees' to a permanent state of inbox zero.


The firm, which has 40 offices around the world, "didn't ban electronic communication outright. Instead, the company built a social network for the entire enterprise," Burkus explains. "They organized the network around 7,500 open communities representing the various projects that required collaboration. However, conversations are not automatically interrupting employees by pinging their inbox. Instead, employees can choose to enter the discussion on their terms."


How did the switch to this Slack-like tool work out? In short, really well.


"While Atos still hasn't hit 0% email, the reduction efforts are working. The company has reduced overall email by 60 percent, going from an average of 100 email messages per week per employee to less than 40," reports Burkus.


But the best news of all isn't more time for employees, it's more money for the company. "Atos's operating margin increased from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2013, earnings per share rose by more than 50 percent, and administrative costs declined from 13 percent to 10 percent," Burkus notes. "Obviously, not all of these improvements were the result of banning email, but the correlation is certainly strong."


He goes on to lay out a load of academic research into the many ills caused by excessive work email in the post. If you're interested in a deeper dive, check it out.


But the main takeaway for business leaders might be this: if a company with 40,000 employees can slash email in this way, why can't your business? And would doing so have similar positive effects?


Source:  http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/this-company-banned-email-5-years-ago-and-never-looked-back.html


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