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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'Technology killed face-to-face conversation'

Technology has killed the art of conversation among office workers, according to a new poll.

Almost 70 per cent of the people quizzed said they preferred to call or email a colleague rather than having a face-to-face conversation with them, even if they were in the same building.

Some workers said they purposely avoided meeting directly as they wanted to keep their distance from colleagues or clients to avoid awkward questions and also reduce chances of being forced to take on more work.

Under a third of those polled said they preferred face-to-face conversations to solve dilemmas.

This group believed that chatting with someone directly was the quickest way to sort out a range of issues.

However, more than half of respondents said that they felt less confident talking with people in person because they had become so reliant on using email, phones and online services such as Skype.

The poll of 600 people found that email was the most popular method of communication among office staff because of the ability to keep a written record, but almost all said they believed it was important to "put a face" to an email address because it helped forge long-term working relationships.

"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," the Daily Express quoted a spokesman for office space website officebroker.com, which carried out the poll, as saying.

"However, what our survey has revealed is that many workers have become so comfortable sending emails, 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," the spokesperson added.