Here’s one to add to your New Year’s resolution list: keep your email inbox clean. This week it’s time for the 5th annual “Clean Out Your Inbox Week,” brought to you by email productivity expert Marsha Egan (you can check out Marsha’s blog and website here).
I did manage to clean up my inbox after last year’s event (at least I could still see all my emails on one screen without spraining my finger to scroll down the list). However, it has somehow managed to mushroom once again into an unwieldy virtual mess. For me, it’s a reminder of my overreliance on email. In fact, for many teleworkers and virtual workers, email is the primary means of communication.
Is there a better way? Yes, say anti-email advocates.
Back in November, French tech firm Atos announced a “zero email” policy with a goal of eliminating internal emails within 18 months. (This is why a friend of mine told me that “American companies are good, but French companies are civilized”). Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, told an ABC reporter that his employees receive about 200 internal emails a day with only about 10% containing useful information. Middle managers spend up to 25% of their time sifting through their inbox and searching for information. What will employees do without email? Atos is hoping that they will find more useful ways to communicate, like wikis and social media.
Atos is not alone in the quest to eliminate email. Wired.com just ran a story last week about Luis Suarez of IBM who began to leave email behind in 2008. Although he checks his emails daily, it only takes 2 minutes. Two minutes a day! Suarez replaced email with social media as his primary means of communicating. What would you do with all the extra time if you weren’t staring at your inbox?
As you clean out your inbox this week, think about the variety of mediums at your disposal whether it is instant messaging, social media, or video and see how you can reduce your email reliance.