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'It could have been an email' almost half of young professionals view work calls & meetings as inefficient

44% more Gen Z & Millennials find calls & meetings unproductive compared to instant messaging & email

  • 59% of Gen Z & Millennials believe that instant messaging or email instead of calls or meetings is the best way to “get things done.”
  • 49% of Gen X and Baby Boomers (aged 44-78) believe that less calls and meetings will have a negative impact on business relationships.
  • 50% of Gen Z and Millennials feel uncomfortable when making phone calls in a professional setting.
  • 46% say that ‘long-lunches’ with clients are hit & miss or outdated with low ROI.
  • 47% do not believe that office phone calls contribute to a more sociable work environment.


Just 16% of Gen Z and Millennials consider phone calls a productive form of professional communication, with 59% stating that instant messaging or email is the best way to “get things done”.

Emilie Vignon, Associate Director of Robert Walters California, comments: "Younger professionals are embracing the digital age and the positive impact it can have on productivity and time management."

In today's fast-paced digital world, younger professionals seek instant results. According to a recent study by global recruitment agency Robert Walters, modern technology methods have enabled younger professionals to achieve more efficient outcomes - just 11% believe that calls and meetings are worthwhile.

Implications of a more digital work culture

Emilie comments, “While the efficiency and convenience of digital communication cannot be denied, we must recognize the downsides. Face-to-face interactions allow for meaningful connections and provide an opportunity for non-verbal communication cues, building trust and rapport with clients and colleagues.

“The subtleties of body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice contribute to a deeper understanding and connection that often cannot be fully conveyed through text or even video chats."

Death of the long lunch?

While meetings and calls may be considered less favorable and important to workplace culture by younger professionals - 47% believing that they do not contribute to more sociable work environments – nearly half (49%) of Gen X and Boomers feel that moving away from calls and in-person meetings will negatively impact business relationships.

The study also highlights the shift in attitudes towards traditional business practices. The old-school concept of a "long lunch" with a prospective client is perceived as outdated by some younger professionals, with almost half (46%) saying that they are “hit and miss” or outdated with low ROI.

Emilie comments, "Younger generations are less inclined to spend hours in a restaurant or cafe when they can have a quick discussion online. This change has the potential to reshape business models, as companies need to adapt to meet the needs and preferences of this tech-savvy demographic. Nevertheless, it's crucial for employees to recognize the great value in in-person face time; it remains a crucial aspect of professional relationship-building."

Phone anxiety

The shift towards digital communication methods has also given rise to what some call "Gen Z and Millennial phone anxiety." In fact, 50% admit to feeling uncomfortable when it comes to making business calls. Just 14% state that it is their go-to approach.

Vignon advises, "Employers need to be mindful of changing dynamics and find ways to make meetings more impactful and beneficial for employees. This includes setting clear objectives, creating agendas, and encouraging active and comfortable participation. By doing so, meetings can become collaborative and result oriented."

"Organizations should implement various communication methods to accommodate different preferences. Younger professionals will continue to look for digital efficiency in their work - while phone calls and face-to-face interactions remain crucial, integrating instant messaging platforms can provide a well-rounded approach. As businesses navigate this shift in communication preferences, they must strike a balance between leveraging the advantages of instant messaging and emails while also recognizing the value of in-person connections and productive meetings.”



For Media Enquires Contact:

Laura O'Flynn, Marketing Manager, Robert Walters New York

E: laura.oflynn@robertwalters.com


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