Overuse of email makes workers less confident talking to others

The survey found that nearly seventy per cent of respondents preferred to deal with others indirectly – over email or the phone – even if they were based in the same building.

Just under a third said they preferred having direct conversations to solve problems, citing speed of response and the ability to discuss a range of issues quickly as the main reason behind the decision.

More than half said they felt less confident when dealing with people in person having become reliant on using email, phone and Skype as their primary communication methods.

Email was the preferred communication method amongst workers, with many citing the ability to record conversations for reference as well as attach a wide variety of information, as the logic behind their decision.

Phone communication was still used when an immediate decision, which may become lost in a recipients inbox was required, although most of those polled said they would typically still use email as a first point of contact.

Surprisingly whilst the majority of those polled said they preferred to deal indirectly with others nearly all said they believed it was important to ‘put a face to an email address’ and agreed that this was beneficial for fostering long-term working relationships.

A spokesman from officebroker.com, who commissioned the survey ,said:  the results show just how reliant upon technology the average worker has become.

He added: “Technological advances have revolutionised the speed at which we are able to communicate and the amount of information we are able to share in a short period – which can only be viewed as a good thing for employees and employers alike.

“However, what our survey has revealed is that many workers have become so comfortable sending emails all day they have lost the ability to communicate as effectively in person and as such avoid doing so where possible.

“Being asked awkward questions or being cornered into taking on new tasks were two of the main reasons cited as to why many workers preferred to keep their distance from colleagues and clients – using email as a barrier to these issues.

“Many viewed the phone as a compromise as they were able to keep their distance from the person they were speaking to but could openly discuss issues and let the conversation flow where required.”

He concluded: “It was interesting to note that nearly all of those polled said they liked to put a face to a name yet still preferred to keep communication as indirect as possible.”