Three Reasons Face-to-Face Communication isn’t Dying

Sometimes it feels like no one remembers how to properly communicate with each other anymore. Friends, family, and even dates show up in social situations glued to their mobile devices, and watching someone take pictures, chat with other people, and read content instead of spend time with you is a very common experience. Some venues are getting so tired of this phenomenon that they offer discounts and other incentives to customers who don’t use their phone. Groups of friends are also starting to fight back against the rise of smartphone conversations by inventing games to keep people off their phones, and to shame the ones who are so hopelessly addicted they can’t stop.

However, younger generations, where this trend should be the worst, are showing signs of a return to sanity. Here’s how:

  1. They know face-to-face is better. The members of the newest generation, Generation Z have spent their entire lives communicating on electronic devices, and they realize that this method falls far short of face-to-face communication. While some people will always feel more comfortable communicating in a medium where things can be edited before they are sent, the vast majority want to engage in traditional communication. The prevailing belief among the younger generations is that electronic communication improves communication speed and access, but not quality.
  2. They want to be around people. The ability to work from home is something that every worker who has braved a brutal commute, or suffered next to an annoying coworker, has thought about. Generation Z, the newest generation to hit working age, is a generation raised on mobile devices into a service based economy increasingly delivered online. Despite their increased ability to work at home (and a push from companies to encourage that) Generation Z remains reluctant to leave the office. Younger employees understand that they have short attention spans, an enormous array of devices that can serve as distractions, and typically, ever shrinking living accommodations. Generation Z values having a workspace outside of their homes, even if this workspace does look vastly different than the traditional workspace, to facilitate face-to-face communication.
  3. Communication trumps cash. Generation Z cares about financial compensation, but they also care about working with people (and for people) who want the same things they do. Having a sense of community in the workplace (which is difficult to create digitally) is one of the strongest tools available to managers interested in keep members of younger generations motivated and happy.

This trend of returning to face-to-face communication makes sense when the motivations and goals of Generation Z are considered. They highly value education and, having experienced online learning, realize that the best way to achieve this goal is with face-to-face interaction. They also want to make a difference or be creative, and rising to those challenges is best done by using digital communication as a tool, not a replacement for face-to-face communication. Managers hiring these new workers will be happy to hear that they are hiring efficient communicators, who also value real connections in the office and in their personal lives.