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What Virtual Workplace? Workers Still Prefer Face-to-Face Communication

Workplace Survey Reveals More Workers Communicate In-person vs. Email, Texting and Instant Messaging

DENVER, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a marked increase in the number of communication and collaboration technologies available to workers, a recent survey of knowledge workers by TrackVia reveals that most workers still regularly communicate the old fashioned way, in person and face-to-face.

Some notable findings:

  • Bad News and Good News: When your boss or colleague asks to meet in person, it's only slightly more likely to be good news. Sixty-nine percent of respondents preferred sharing "positive" feedback face-to-face versus 63 percent who prefer sharing "negative" feedback face-to-face.
  • Making Friends at Work: Forty-three percent of respondents felt electronic communication improved workplace relationships. Only eight percent felt it negatively impacted relationships.
  • Connecting a Name with a Face: Forty percent of workers said they had worked with someone for an extended period, yet never met them in person – or even talked to on the phone.
  • Workplace Romance: Fourteen percent of respondents reported flirting with a co-worker via email, texting or instant messaging. Ten percent admitted to initiating a workplace romance via electronic communications.
  • Keeping Track of Family: While face-to-face communication is still dominant at work, what happens when workers need to get in touch with family during working hours?  One-in-five use text messaging most often when it is necessary to contact family during working hours.  Although a higher proportion (36%) call with their cell phone most often for this purpose, it is still interesting that texting has become the mode of choice for a sizable proportion who are trying to juggle work and family demands.

"When it comes to increasing workplace productivity, it's clear that tools like email and instant messaging help, but don't replace personal collaboration," said Charles Var, vice president of Marketing for TrackVia, providers of an online solution that gives business people a radically faster way to build their own department- or company-specific applications that they can share with colleagues. "Context also matters as people's preference for communication appears to change based on what they're doing." 

The survey also revealed some generational and gender differences.  For example, 50 percent of women said electronic communication increased productivity, whereas 62 percent of men said it increased productivity. Younger workers were more likely to view electronic communication as a way to increase productivity. Sixty-five percent of respondents 25 to 34 years old said electronic communication increased productivity. Only 52 percent of respondents aged 35 or older said electronic communication increased productivity.

Additional gender and generational differences included:

  • Men Gossip: According to the survey, men are more likely to share gossip. Forty-five percent of women said they "would never" share workplace gossip compared to 34 percent of men.
  • Email is Preferred Over Texting or Instant Messaging for Gossip: While most respondents preferred sharing workplace gossip face-to-face (44 percent), email was the most popular electronic tool. Five percent of respondents said they share office gossip via email versus texting (3 percent) or instant messaging (1 percent).
  • Office Romance: Men are more likely than women to be willing  to ask a co-worker on a date.  On the other hand, 70% of women say they would "never" ask a co-worker out on a date.  Among men, 47% would "never" do this.

To view an infograph showing these and other key findings, visit http://www.trackvia.com/blog/infographics/how-workers-communicate-and-collaborate-infographic

The study was administered by Amplitude Research during January 2013 among a nationwide panel of workers.  In total, 300 surveys were completed by U.S. respondents who use computers and software as part of their daily job. The survey has a maximum sampling margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  More information about Amplitude Research, Inc. may be found at http://www.amplituderesearch.com.

About TrackVia
TrackVia is a do-it-yourself application builder for business people – a faster and easier alternative to the IT department or custom development projects. TrackVia customers have built thousands of applications, ranging from commonly used business solutions for CRM, order management, support case management, software bug tracking and product catalogues to highly tailored vertical applications for corporate real estate, healthcare, travel and hospitality, and even automotive and manufacturing industries. TrackVia is sold on a simple and affordable month-to-month subscription plan. For more information or to sign-up for a free 14-day trial, please visit www.trackvia.com.  


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