Face-to-face meetings may be considered old fashioned in the age of social media and remote working, but most employees still feel that they work better as a team when they get together in person, a study has shown.
Research by Engine Group’s ORC International found that 61% of employees rate face-to-face meetings as a very effective way of aiding collaboration at work, compared with 34% for video conferences; 30% for teleconferences; 29% for online communities or forums; 32% for social collaboration tools; and 48% for email.
Surprisingly, there was little difference of opinion between Millennials and older generations, with 62% of Millennials rating face to face meetings as “very effective” compared with 59% of Generation X and 61% of Baby Boomers – although Millennials were relatively more positive than their older colleagues about internet-based forms of communication.
The report suggests that while online communication tools have made it easier and more efficient for organisations to manage large workforces and offer more flexible working patterns, personal interaction is still integral to modern workplaces.
A previous survey by ORC International found that two thirds of HR professionals think organisations are moving towards social media-based communication platforms for employees, but 60% of those said their organisation was ill-prepared to make the most of the opportunity.
Other trends identified in the new report include:
- While most leaders think they are very effective at encouraging innovation among their teams, their staff don’t necessarily agree. Some 80% of leaders said their organisation recognises and rewards innovation, compared with just 47% of employees.
- When it comes to the leadership traits that forward-looking organisations need to survive, female senior managers are more confident than their male counterparts in their ability to build a collaborative team (62% vs 50%), keep staff engaged (62% vs 51%) and maximise diversity and inclusion (53% vs 44%).
- More than one in ten (11%) of employees in the UK are unhappy with their working conditions, and almost half (42%) of those believe their management has prioritised cost or schedules over safety – meaning up to one in 20 people in the UK may be working in conditions which are not only unproductive and disengaging, but potentially dangerous.
Debbie Klein, CEO of Engine Europe and Asia, said:
“The most successful businesses know that keeping employees engaged is paramount. Modern technology has undoubtedly helped make communication more efficient and accessible than ever before – but the challenge is for organisations to find a way of maximising these benefits while preserving that all-important element of personal interaction.
“At Engine, personal interaction between staff is absolutely vital to our way of life. Our wide range of creative, PR, data and media agencies work together under one roof, and it’s that day-to-day contact between people from different professional backgrounds that often provides the spark for our best and most creative work.”