Three Quarters (74%) of US Workers Say Face-To-Face Meetings Are Still Needed for the Future of Work

by maria
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  • 64% of US workers say the key to trust is human contact
  • Over half (53%) trust in-person sales over online
  • Most workers (60%) prepare more for in-person meetings than online

Over half (53%) of US workers think their industry needs in-person meetings to survive, a new study by travel management company TravelPerk has found. The survey of 1,000 US workers investigated attitudes towards home and office working, as well as business meetings. It revealed that only 26% of workers think the face-to-face meeting is dead, with the remaining 74% believing in-person meetings are key for the future of business.

The research highlighted the benefits to both in-person meetings and overall office working, with 6 in 10 respondents saying the best way to learn at work is by being around colleagues in person and a further 64% believing the key to trust and building working relationships is in-person contact.

There were also concerns around home working, with over half (51%) saying they’re worried about burnout at home caused by back-to-back virtual calls. A further 56% said they’re concerned about negative effects on their working relationships when working remotely, highlighting a lack of team spirit due to not seeing colleagues face-to-face.

Younger generations, who may not have as much previous workplace experience, were more likely to be affected by a lack of in-person colleague interaction, with 56% of 16–24-year-olds saying they feel the effects of imposter syndrome when working from home compared to only 11% of over 55s who felt the same. This was also reflected when looking at office small talk, with younger generations craving longer conversations and interactions with colleagues. Less than half (44%) of those aged 55 and over said they prefer work small talk to last over five minutes, compared to a huge 85% of 16–24-year-olds.

Looking at work meetings and meeting etiquette, the survey found that most workers (60%) do more preparation for meetings they have in-person than virtually. It also highlighted a struggle when deciding how to greet others in meetings in place of a handshake.

  • 44% think the suggested Covid elbow bump is unprofessional
  • Most prefer a simple verbal greeting (41%) or a smile (15%)
  • Only 9% thought a nod or fist bump should replace the handshake

Interestingly, despite its young perception, the over 55 generation were most likely to prefer a fist bump greeting in a meeting. 12% said it was their greeting of choice compared to only 7% of 16–24-year-olds.

Huw Slater, Chief Operations Officer at TravelPerk said of the findings:

“After over a year of remote and blended working, there has been much discussion around whether home or the office is the most beneficial to employees. So, we wanted to speak directly to US workers to gauge their thoughts on getting ‘back to business’. Overall, we found there was a clear desire to get back to seeing colleagues face-to-face. We’re innately social, with respondents telling us they prepare more for in-person meetings, find it easier to trust others when meeting face-to-face, and are concerned about a lack of team spirit when working from home.

“Off the back of this, we also found an appetite to return to traveling for business meetings, with 41% of US workers saying business travel is more of a perk now than ever. In fact, 34% told us they have their best business ideas when traveling for work, showing just how inspiring getting out into the world and meeting work contacts in person can be. While we can all recognize the convenience of being able to jump onto a Zoom call for less-essential meetings, usually the best ideas, the best relationships – and the best results – happen when we meet face-to-face.”

For more findings from TravelPerk’s ‘Back to Business’ research, visit their blog.

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