Almost 40% of 18-24 year olds said they were nervous of using the telephone while one in twenty said they are terrified of using the telephone in the workplace, new research from Jurys Inn Hotels and CrossCountry trains has revealed.

The survey of 2,500 office workers exposed the nation’s over-reliance on email with 94% claiming to prefer email communication to using the telephone.  In fact, over a quarter (28%) of employees claimed telephone communication makes them nervous, rising to almost 40% in the 18-24 year olds. One in twenty under 24 year olds claim telephone communication ‘terrifies’ them.

Marking a shift in the way we communicate in the workplace, the study also revealed that one in five office workers would now consider handing in their notice via email rather than face-to-face. A further 14% would ask for a pay rise over email and almost a quarter would complain about another member of staff in this way. 16% of women would inform their employer of a pregnancy via email.

However, the value of the traditional meeting still stands today, with almost two thirds of office workers preferring to be informed of a pay rise in a face-to-face scenario, rather than by telephone or email. What’s more, when it comes to hearing about important company news, 43% would prefer to be informed in person rather than via email.

Marc Webster, Jurys Inn, Head of Sales and spokesperson for Jurys Meetings says: “At Jurys Inn, we understand the benefit and importance of meeting face to face.  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.”

He continues: “Clearly people still prefer to be communicated with in person, particularly when it comes to important issues and we shouldn’t underestimate the value of stepping away from our computers and engaging in regular face-to-face meetings.”

Further findings from the survey revealed one fifth of office workers have experienced a colleague using email to take credit for something they did and16% have noticed a colleague using email to show them up in a negative light.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Tom Jackson, Director of the Centre for Information Management at Loughborough University, who is also dubbed ‘Dr Email’, said: “This research further highlights the fact that the way employees are using email to communicate is far from efficient and in fact, as previous studies have found, is costing the average company £10K per employee per year.

“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.”

The most common mistakes made via email include:

  • Accidentally clicking send before the email is ready (36%)
  • Embarrassing spelling and grammar mistakes (20%)
  • Accidentally sending a kiss at the end of a message (12%)
  • Copying a client into an internal email about them (7%)
  • Forwarding an inappropriate email trail (7%)
  • Forgetting an attachment (50%)
  • Forgetting to blind copy (BCC) on a email (12%)