Telephonophobia: Britain’s fear of phones in the workplace

Some one in 20 18-24 year olds are terrified of using the telephone in the workplace, according to Jurys Inn Hotels and CrossCountry Trains research. The survey of 2,500 office employees exposed the nation’s over-reliance on email, with 94 per cent claiming to prefer email communication to using the telephone. 

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 per cent would ask for a pay rise over email, almost a quarter would complain about another member of staff in this way, while 16 per cent 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 employees 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 per cent would prefer to be informed in person rather than via email.

Marc Webster, head of sales at Jurys Inn said: “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. Clearly, people still prefer to be communicated with in person, particularly when it comes to important issues.”

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 per cent 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: “Misunderstandings occur frequently via written communication. In fact, 68 per cent of employees said the emails they receive are sometimes difficult to decipher, whether it be a misinterpreted tone or rushed explanations.”

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