The art of communication in the workplace is changing as UK workers turn to email and Instant Messaging (IM) as their favoured method of communication according to the findings of a survey commissioned by Damovo UK, the business communications provider. Over two thirds of respondents were found to favour these communication methods, while only half as many said they still preferred to talk to colleagues on the telephone.
The survey, conducted by eDigitalResearch, asked more than 1,000 UK workers in the public and private sectors about their communication habits in the office and found that they are increasingly expressing a preference for electronic communications. While out of the office or unavailable, 66 per cent of respondents stated that they favour messages sent via email over traditional methods, however, one quarter of respondents still prefer to receive messages on voicemail.
Also revealed in the survey was the increasing use of IM as a business communication tool by employees. Over one third of respondents said they used IM at work to communicate with each other, and of those users, nearly half claimed they use it primarily for business purposes. This belies the common belief that it is purely for personal communication.
Linked to the trend of using IM as a work tool, the findings also showed an increased use of unified communications in the workplace. Over one third of respondents said presence, the key technology behind unified communications, allowed them to communicate with colleagues more efficiently. However, many people were still unconvinced of its value, highlighting the need for greater education of the benefits to be gained through business use of unified communications.
Nick Dean, managing director of Damovo UK, said: “The research highlights the value of implementing a unified communications strategy, with employees expressing the need for a diverse range of communications. Voice remains an important form of business communication, however applications such as IM also need to be integrated into existing communications strategies. It is now up to businesses to recognise these trends, in order to realise greater efficiency and productivity and maintain competitive advantage.”
 Messaging, conferencing and video tools which enable workers to access and share information with colleagues, partners and suppliers through a number of devices
 A status indicator that allows users to declare their availability or preferred method of contact to colleagues, for example like a buddy list.
Further survey results:
1. What is your preferred business communication tool at work?
- Desk phone (25%)
- Mobile phone (5%)
- Email (65%)
- SMS text messaging (1%)
- Instant messaging (IM) (2%)
- Other (e.g. Skype, face-to-face, post) (2%)
2. Do you consider Instant Messaging a helpful tool for business communication in the workplace?
- Yes (41%)
- Not really (20%)
- No, it’s a distraction (14%)
- Do not use Instant Messaging (25%)
3. If you have Instant Messaging at work, how much time do you spend using it for business reasons compared to personal use?
- More time for personal use (33%)
- Equal amounts of time (24%)
- More time for business use (43%)
4. What is your opinion of presence technology as an effective business communication tool?
- It is very useful, as I can communicate with colleagues much more efficiently (35%)
- I don’t like it, as there is an element of ‘Big Brother’ about it (13%)
- I am not convinced it is that useful as it still relies on people to regularly update their profile for it to work effectively (52%)
5. If you are unavailable, what is your preferred method for people to leave you a message?
- Desk phone voicemail (13%)
- Mobile voicemail (12%)
- Email (66%)
- Text message (4%)
- Instant Messaging (1%)
- Other (e.g. secretary, written note) (4%)
6. In a typical working week, how much time do you spend playing voicemail tag with customers/ colleagues?
- None (46%)
- Up to ten minutes (29%)
- Up to an hour (22%)
- More than one day (3%)
The survey was conducted by eDigitalResearch on behalf of Damovo UK
Damovo (damovo.co.uk) designs, implements, supports and manages business communications. Its range of end-to-end communications solutions and services improve the way organisations work by connecting them with their people, information and clients.
Damovo has 30 years' experience in delivering data, mobility and voice solutions, and long-standing relationships with some of the leading vendors in this market, such as Ericsson, Cisco Systems, Nortel and Genesys. This heritage enables Damovo to provide organisations with the best communications solution for their requirements, while guiding them from consultancy and design, through to implementation, support and education.
Damovo has more than 600 UK clients, spanning 5,000 sites across both public and private sectors. These include Addenbrooke's NHS Foundation Trust, Aston University, Bradford Community Housing Trust Group, Electrolux, Network Rail, London Borough of Hackney, Metropolitan Police Service, Nutricia, St Mary’s NHS Trust, Weatherbys and Jones Lang LaSalle.