A survey of 2,500 office workers revealed the popularity of email with 94% saying that they prefer email to speaking on the telephone. More than a quarter (28%) of all employees said that telephone conversations make them anxious, increasing to almost 40% in the 18-24 year olds. One in twenty under 24 year olds said that speaking on the telephone ‘terrifies’ them.
These results indicate a dramatic change in the way we now communicate in the workplace. The report showed that one in five office workers would think about resigning via email rather than face-to-face. An additional 14% would request a pay rise over email and almost a quarter would use email to complain about a colleague.
Despite this shift face-to-face communication is still preferred when receiving certain types of news. Almost two thirds of office workers would rather learn of a pay rise in person and 43% would prefer to hear important company news in this way.
Marc Webster, Head of Sales and spokesperson for Jurys Meetings said: “As we all become more reliant on technology, our survey results showed clear signs that email, particularly for the younger generation, has replaced face-to-face communication in the workplace”.
The survey also highlights the possible downsides of over-reliance on email. One fifth of office workers said they have experienced a colleague using email to take credit for something they did and 16% have noticed a colleague using email to show them up in a bad light.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Tom Jackson, Director of the Centre for Information Management at Loughborough University, said: “Misunderstandings can also occur frequently via written communication. In fact, 68% of employees said the emails they receive are sometimes difficult to decipher, whether it be a misinterpreted tone or rushed explanations which could be resolved much more efficiently via telephone or face-to-face”.