Survey says Canadian workers want less tech and more face-to-face communication

The majority of Canadian workers think answering emails and phone calls during meetings is a no-no; prefer more face-to-face interaction in the workplace

Findings from Randstad’s latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 29 countries around the world, reveal that Canadian workers can’t stand technological interruptions during meetings and want more face time with their colleagues.

The results show that nearly three-quarters of Canada’s employees (73 per cent) report that they are bothered by people who answer their phone or respond to email during business meetings. With that said, nearly one in six (14 per cent) of respondents indicate they are guilty of these acts themselves.

Even outside of meetings, nearly seven in 10 (68 per cent) Canadian employees indicated they prefer face-to-face contact over other means of communications, such as telephone or email. In fact more than four out of 10 Canadian employees (42 per cent) say they create moments during their day when they ignore contact like phone and e-mail all together.

When it comes to technology etiquette such as responding to emails and calls during meetings, Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Randstad Canada, says it all depends on the nature of the meeting, and the environment – just make sure your actions remain professional.

“Even with easier and quicker access to information that new technologies like smartphones, social media, videoconferencing and others provide, people still value face-to-face interactions. Smartphones can have a very appropriate place during a meeting or business setting, especially if using it serves to facilitate or enhance the speed of business,” says Parker. “On the other hand, they can feel like a slight when you are meeting with someone, just to have them pull out their phone and read a text message while you’re in conversation,” says Parker.

Canadians aren’t alone. Around the globe, results indicate 75 per cent of employees feel it is not appropriate to answer a call or respond to email during a business meeting – though 15 to 20 per cent of the respondents admit to still doing this.

The level of acceptance of this practice varies by country. In India and China, 75 per cent think it is wrong to answer a call or email but nearly half of the employees do it anyway. Hungary’s results are similar to Canada, where a high percentage of employees say they are bothered by these actions (89 per cent) but few admit they are guilty of this practice (nine per cent) themselves.

The overall global results for the preference of face-to-face communication are also in line with Canada, as 70 per cent of all employees say they prefer personal contact over phone or email. In Turkey, over 80 per cent report preferring face-to-face contact, while interestingly enough, only 57 per cent of employees from Japan, Norway and Singapore prefer in person communication.

According to Parker, “New technologies have definitely changed the way we conduct business, and plays a key role in knowledge sharing. However, companies have to learn to find a good balance between virtual and face-to-face communication in order to create a workplace that is efficient, productive, inspiring and team-oriented.”

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