Our company’s motto is: When in doubt, over communicate. Email is often the most used form of communication, but unfortunately, it can also be the worst to use when trying to get a point across to your intended receiver. But it’s not just customers we should worry about when emailing. It’s also our coworkers, who we interact with on a daily basis.
Internal office emails can become a business killer, when not used properly. Too many emails in someone’s inbox can become overwhelming; unintentionally writing in a condescending tone can cause unnecessary tension at the office; and not making your message clear to your reader can make everyone’s job harder.
There are actually some large companies who are doing away with inter-office emails because of overuse. Atos, a French business technology company, implemented a “zero email” policy to end internal emails. Describing the volume of emails sent and received amongst its 74,000 employees as “unsustainable”, Thierry Breton, chairman and chief executive officer, plans on forcing Atos’s workforce to communicate with other tools.
“We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives,” Breton declared in a corporate statement.
Breton estimates that only 10% of the 200 messages Atos employees receive daily are useful. Furthermore, Atos managers spend between 5 and 20 hours a week just reading and writing emails. So, Atos is “encouraging the use of tools such as Office Communicator and has set up social community platforms to share and keep track of ideas on subjects from innovation and Lean Management through sales.”
While this may be an extreme case, there are definite advantages to reducing the amount of back-and-forth emails between coworkers. When email starts to become the only form of communication, your inbox becomes a huge management nightmare. An overload of emails does not facilitate a healthy workflow and can actually hinder your ability to get things done. So, if your coworkers are abusing their emails, it may be time to set some new office rules.