Atos says the age of the e-mail will soon be over
Atos Origin, the global IT firm, has set out to become a "zero e-mail" company within three years.
Thierry Breton, the firm's chairman and chief executive, says he has had enough of the streams of e-mails which daily "pollute" the workplace. He has likened his campaign to the efforts made to "reduce environmental pollution after the industrial revolution".
Atos Origin staff will instead be encouraged to use instant messaging, social networks, shared internet and intranet sites, blogs and good old fashioned face-to-face meetings to communicate.
However a spokeswoman for the company admitted Atos won't be able to go entirely e-mail-free - and staff will still have to respond to e-mails from customers.
Speaking at a conference in Paris, Breton said: "The volume of e-mails we send and receive is unsustainable for business. Managers spend between five and 20 hours a week reading and writing e-mails. They are already using social media networking more than search.
"At Atos Origin. . . we have set up collaboration tools and social community platforms, to share and keep track of ideas. Businesses need to do more of this - e-mail is on the way out as the best way to do business."
But not everyone is convinced it would be possible for a company to go completely e-mail-free - yet. Richard Moir, chief technology officer for Cisco in Scotland, said: "There is a reduction in e-mail as social media grows and that trend will continue. But there will still be certain tasks like sending confidential information where there is still a requirement for e-mail."