Breton’s call to kill email has found resonance with some India Inc CEOs. “I’ve contemplated shutting down email for 3-4 hours everyday in office so employees can get work done,” says Pramod Bhasin, vice-chairman, Genpact, India’s largest BPO outfit. “There is no question there are a lot of useless emails and loss of productivity.
When there’s an email on your BlackBerry you end up answering it even though it may be less important than what you are doing. It’s a habit.” Senior-level executives and CEOs are supposed to be great at managing their time, but they are vulnerable when it comes to email, he adds.
RPG Group-promoted Zensar Technologies has an email code of conduct which asks people not to ‘copy’ emails to anyone unless required. “We encourage people to push back if they feel they should not have been copied in an email,” says Ganesh Natarajan, vice-chairman of Zensar and CII co-chair, National Knowledge Council. “This brings down unproductive exchanges.”
Zensar is currently working on applying social media in the enterprise though Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter-like tools. But Natarajan says he doesn’t see these as replacement for email. “With good etiquette and discipline, email can be productive,” he adds.
Breton also said killing email will help companies go back to the basics of management. “I realised that our employees were managing too much through screens and did not manage enough by talking together,” he said.