So much of our adult lives are spent at work, but there seems to be a distinct difference between the way we converse at work, compared to outside of it.
New Zealand’s most trusted winery, Villa Maria, is exploring the value of conversation and finding out how Britain views conversation in the workplace.
The nationwide survey, commissioned by Villa Maria with Opinion Matters, has highlighted Britons’ reluctance to converse face-to-face when at work, as well as bringing to light how little we know about the people we spend so much time with.
The rise of email has meant that you can conceivably do your job without ever needing to engage in face-to-face conversations. However, staggeringly, it has meant that 70% of Brits would prefer not to speak to someone face-to-face when at work! Are we just really busy, or are we becoming less sociable?
With this being the case, it is perhaps not so surprising that 20% of Brits admit that they have poor knowledge of their colleagues’ last names, and 13% come clean that they even struggle with colleagues’ first names. For those who have taken the time to learn a bit more about the people they spend their working lives with, the research shows that friendships can blossom, with a reassuring 33% of people claiming to have work colleagues who they would consider friends.
In the battle of the sexes, women are seen to be the more likely to get to know more about their colleagues’ personal lives than men – including their names, whether they have children, where they holiday and what their hobbies are. Women also more likely to consider colleagues friends.
However, it is also women who are more likely to opt for emailing a colleague over verbal communication, with 20% of women more likely to stay behind the screen, compared to 11% of men.
Despite this nationwide reluctance to converse at work, Villa Maria’s survey found that confidence is a sure way to impress in the workplace, with 84% of people considering positive and confident face-to-face conversations an indicator that somebody is good at their job.
Villa Maria is running a series of expert talks celebrating the value of conversation and championing face-to-face communication in the workplace. One expert is Griselda Togobo, Owner and Managing Director of Forward Ladies, a global platform that connects women to opportunities. Giving her insight into the topic, she said:
“I think face-to face conversation is a lost art. People are so quick to shoot off emails, and in my team, I tell them, ‘please don’t email me if you can just come and talk to me about it.’ Why send twenty emails asking twenty questions when you can just come and grab me and have a five-minute chat and get a resolution?
I think that conversation has its own currency. It makes a big impression in the workplace when you can communicate but because of emails we have all become a bit lazy, which I think is a missed opportunity. The people in the workplace who are going to get ahead are the people who can connect, emotionally, culturally and on a human level, so face-to-face communication will help you rise to the top.”
Angela Lewis, Brand Ambassador at Villa Maria, adds: “The research we have undertaken shows that there is a real difference between how people communicate at work to outside of work. At Villa Maria, conversations between work colleagues have resulted in some really big moments for the company, including the creation of the name itself. Our founder, Sir George, and his friends decided on it while sitting around a barbeque one night, so we know that many great moments happen when people come together to chat, and we want to encourage others to do so too.”