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Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 12 News List

Company puts an end to costly internal e-mails

REUTERS , LONDON

A British phone company has declared war on internal e-mails and says it expects to save around £1 million (US$1.62 million) each month as a result.

It has banned all in-house e-mails to save its staff the chore of having to sift through thousands of messages and unwanted drop copies, which often bear no relevance to their work.

"This is a total ban on internal e-mails," said a spokesman for high street telephone retailer Phones 4u, adding that the move would save each employee at least three hours of work time each day.

"There is now one briefing e-mail which is circulated among all 2,500 staff every morning. Other than that, staff are being told they will have to communicate either face to face or by phone."

Customers will still be able to contact the company via e-mail and can expect a reply in kind. Phones 4u will also continue to contact some suppliers via e-mail, he said.

The company said it would check its servers to make sure staff were complying with the policy, which was introduced at the start of this week.

"To be honest though, the policy doesn't need much policing because managers are already coming back to us and telling us how liberating it's been, not having to trawl through thousands of irrelevant e-mails each day, the spokesman said.

"Once you've been sucked into the e-mail trap, you're in it forever."

The company's CEO John Caudwell said misuse of e-mail was the problem -- not e-mail itself.

"It's a very effective tool if used properly," he told reporters. "While I do believe that e-mail in general is the absolute cancer of British business, I only believe that because of the misuse of it."

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