Is Office Email Growing Obsolete?

Is office email going the way of the dinosaur? Possibly. Tim Fry, the executive vice president and general manager of Weber Shandwick, is the latest high-profile executive to sound the clarion call to office workers to ditch email in favor of more efficient modes of communication. On April 23, his firm began using an internal social network by Socialtext that's akin to Facebook for the majority of its interoffice correspondence.

"Yes, it will reduce email volumes, but more fundamentally it will allow us to more quickly deliver more of our services to clients," Fry told Workforce. "I think the more fundamental benefit is doing better work. A manifestation of that is happier employees and fewer emails."

Weber Shandwick isn't the only company to shift its reliance on email. Volkswagen Germany, for example, disables most of its employees' BlackBerry servers outside business hours. Employees at PriceWaterhouseCoopers who opt to work on the weekend see a warning message gently cautioning them to wait until the next business day to send emails to colleagues.

Despite these firms' aggressive anti-email policies, let's face it: email isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As Workforce writer Michelle V. Rafter rightly points out, email is significantly easier to archive than, say, text messages, which is a sticking point for companies that must keep copies of electronic communication with clients on file. And although firms can certainly stand to cut down on interoffice email, one of the easiest ways for employees to communicate with clients and other outside sources is still email.

Do you think email is growing obsolete?

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