Put down your phone, don’t send another email, and fight the urge to Gchat. It’s time to talk…in person.

When it comes to the workplace, millennials prefer connecting face to face. A Bentley University survey discovered that 51% of millennials prefer talking in person at the office.

That’s right, they want to go back to basics. Why? Millennials may use technology like email, text and Gchat for their personal life but understand face time is a valuable asset at the workplace. Shockingly, only 7% of millennials prefer Gchatting as their favored mode of communication with coworkers.

Millennial Magazine - mixed-messages

Here are 5 reasons millennials prefer to chat face-to-face:

  1. Mixed Messages – Communicating through writing is tricky. You can’t tell tone, emotion or rationale in people’s responses. Is someone busy and sending a quick one word email or does that one word email mean your idea stinks? Only 19% of millennials surveyed rank email as a preferred communication mode at the office.
  2. Deadlines– You have two hours to prepare a presentation for your client and need answers ASAP. The best way to get these answers is in person. Your co-worker might be on a call, reading Buzzfeed or writing a pitch, and might miss the urgent email/Skype call/texts you’ve been sending the last 30 minutes. Is there anything worse than texting or emailing back and forth all day long but not making any real progress on your projects? When time is of the essence – head over to their cube.
  3. More Direction– Millennials are the new kids on the block in terms of the work world. While they don’t need an executive to hold their hand, they do want concise instructions on the projects they’ll be working on. Millennials may be the Google generation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require a bit of guidance. Bentley’s Director for the Center of Marketing Technology, Ian Cross, says, “Particularly in the beginning of their career, millennials need more validation than previous generations. They like praise, and they want clear direction as to what their manager may be asking of them, which explains their desire to speak to a colleague in person.”
  4. Creating Relationships– You could text, Snapchat and Gchat all day long with your officemates and clients, but the only way to create meaningful relationships is through speaking in person. Learning about their upcoming trip, the last concert they went to or if they’ve watched the latest Homeland episode builds a sense of camaraderie. These relationships carry over into your work. You’ll be more comfortable to share your ideas and brainstorm with a co-worker (especially an older co-worker) you’ve been able to chat with. Aaron Nurick, a professor of management and psychology at Bentley, says “Millennials yearn for more personal communication and real relationships, in part because these opportunities have become so rare for this generation.”
  5. Paper Trail– Remember that time you emailed your friend about your sorority sister’s ugly wedding dress only to discover she forwarded that message to 10 other people – including your newly married sorority sister? Millennials are wise to this game – especially at the office. They are aware that ‘Big Brother’ is watching and could read that message about your co-worker’s shoddy work style or business trip antics. Some interoffice issues need to be solved offline and behind closed doors. You don’t want a series of emails to turn up that make you look like the bad guy.

So while millennials will always choose to text when communicating with a friend, they understand that when it comes to the workplace, face-time with colleagues, and especially managers, will help them succeed in their careers.

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Jill Jacinto


New York City

Jill started out her career as an on-air reporter for the financial news website, Minyanville. She is currently the Associate Director of Editorial & Communications and Millennial Expert for WORKS, a career and lifestyle brand. Jill is the millennial expert for Aol Jobs and the millennial ambassador for Bentley’s PreparedU Project. Her advice has appeared in Yahoo! Finance, Fox Business, Bloomberg Radio, MSN Money, Refinery 29, Reuters, Business Insider, Huffington Post & Cosmo for Latina. Jill graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with degrees in journalism and history. She loves traveling around the world and hopes to visit every country on the map – next stop Greece. When home, in New York City, Jill enjoys relaxing by the city’s riverfront, doing yoga and watching her guilty pleasure, Bravo.

All posts by Jill Jacinto

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