MANILA, Philippines — Spending too much time answering e-mails or posting on social networks is affecting workers’ office productivity, said an executive of telecom operator Orange, suggesting that a new form of business communication would have to take the place of email soon.
Describing email and social networks as a “curse” and the “cholesterol of office life” that would have to be remedied soon, Orange Vice President for Unified Communications and Collaboration in Asia Pacific Frederic Gillant told the audience during the NetEvents Press and Analyst Summit in Hong Kong that these two modes of communication actually hinder–instead of facilitate–employee productivity in the office.
“Email is really a curse,” Gillant pressed on. “When you wake up in the morning you see you have 150 e-mails in your mailbox, you’re not going to work today, you’re just going to spend your time doing some e-mails.”
Gillant argued that oftentimes, email conversation tend to spiral down into miscommunication especially because notions such as humor, sarcasm and other conversation concepts cannot be translated that easily through email.
In the same vein, the Orange executive said he is not entirely sold on the idea of social networks as becoming a part of business communication since “putting some pictures of your dog on Facebook is not something that is going to improve connectivity.”
“[Social networks] are not something that enhances your way of communicating, it is something that is going to slow down your work and hinder your productivity,” he stressed.
In the hierarchy of business communication, Gillant posited that email and social networking are at the bottom rung of the ladder, with face-to-face communication and video telepresence superseding other forms of conversation in the workplace.
He maintained that the emerging trend of unified communications (UC) — where video, voice, and text are presented through a singular platform — will eventually be a better alternative to email soon, even if most business communication today are done through email.
“I would say UC is the way to get rid of e-mail. When you have UC definitely you can avoid doing some e-mails because you can do something which is as close as having a face-to-face contact with people,” he said.
The telco executive, however, admitted that UC still has a long way before it makes it to mainstream status, especially since there really is no way to measure ROI for the technology investment as of late.
“What you are sure of is that to implement [UC] you’re going to give a lot of money to a company such as my company to implement it and to manage it later on,” he added.
Still, the way people are communicating by email nowadays, Gillant argued that the 15-year-old mode of communication already has its days numbered, particularly in the enterprise space.
“I’m convinced that e-mail will slowly but surely disappear and be replaced by something else,” he said.