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Should we ban email in the workplace?

Is this a lot of email in your inbox?
Is this a lot of email in your inbox?
Jeff the Trojan/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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How much of your day gets eaten up by email? And how much of it is to or from someone who’s just a few yards away?

In a recent article in the Atlantic, CEO Thierry Breton estimated that managers at his company, Atos, spend up to 25 hours a week looking at email. Breton plans to get that time back by instituting a company-wide ban on intra-office email. It may sound like a solution for Luddites, but Atos, an international information technology company, might just be ahead of the trend, pushing for its employees to communicate using chat or instant messaging internally and reserve email for external interactions. According to some, this fits with predictions of an incoming workforce who already communicate via instant messaging, which could explain why your inbox has been a little lonely as of late—minus the newsletters and sales announcements, of course.


Have you or your company taken any steps towards cutting down on inbox clutter? Have they worked? Would you be more productive if you IM’d your fellow employees instead of emailing?


Rob Price, a representative from Atos, an international information technology services company that has a zero email ambition

Derek Thompson, senior editor, The Atlantic; he oversees business coverage for the website; he wrote, “The Case for Banning Email at Work”

Karen North, director of the online communities program at USC's Annenberg school of Communications and Journalism