Email, text, or voice mail – what’s the best way to communicate (other than in person) at work?  It depends on who you ask.

Coca-Cola recently disconnected the voice mail system at their Atlanta headquarters “to simplify the way we work and increase productivity” according to the company.  Callers now hear a pre-recorded message that advises the caller to find an “alternative method” of reaching out, reports Bloomberg.  Those employees who claimed voice mail met a “critical business need”, about 6% of the Atlanta staff, were able to keep it on their office phones.

With smartphones that allow calls to be received anywhere and VoIP systems that send messages straight to email, the office desk phone with voice mail may become a thing of the past.  In addition, younger employees, who came of age texting while largely ignoring voice mail, are bringing that habit into the workforce.

Yes, getting voice mail is annoying to the caller.  Yes, the message is often annoying to the recipient, particularly if it’s from an unknown salesperson.  More often than not, those messages don’t get returned anyway.  So do we really need voice mail at all?

For IT service providers like CRU Solutions, voice mail is a valuable tool, even though talking to a real person is always preferable to leaving a message.  Sometimes it’s easier to describe a question or provide follow-up information in a voice mail than in an email.  Some people just prefer to pick up the phone (though the “experts” say that number is dwindling).

Tech journalists have been predicting the death of voice mail for years.  Time will tell if Coke’s decision becomes an indication of things to come.