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Are people skills really disappearing at work?

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Question: "It's been said that many of us are losing our face-to-face people skills because of computers, email, texting, telecommuting, etc. Since it's easier than ever to get our work done in an impersonal way, without connecting in person as often, employees are getting cozy on their own little 'work islands' and may be forgetting the basics (and advantages) of constant human interaction. But do you think this is actually true—and if so, how is it making your job more difficult?" - the editors of Administrative Professional Today

See comments below, and send your own question to editor@adminprotoday.com.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa May 24, 2017 at 11:33 am

In my company, we’re fully, face-to-face interactive, with open work spaces encouraging face-to-face interaction in each department. That’s mixed up with some email communication, as the various locations and departments need to communicate with each other. it’s a good mix. I work in a three-person HR department, and we’re constantly in each other’s offices talking to each other.

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Linda April 7, 2017 at 3:26 pm

In my department, the director recommends sending emails, this way there is a record of the communication. I prefer having a face-to-face discussion, then following up with an email. Many times the analyst I work with will walk out of his office and say, “I sent you an email.” I am puzzled why he can’t come and talk to me about the project. My desk is right outside his office. I merely have to accept his method of communication and go with the flow.

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Lori K March 23, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I do believe there is a change in the dynamic of customer service. I respond to questions of a legal nature through e-mail to the public. Because of this, it is difficult to know if they understand what I mean and try to communicate to them. I have to be very careful how I word things to make them very clear, and even then any written word is open to interpretation. If I were to talk to them face-to-face or even on the phone, I would have a better opportunity to make sure they know what I am trying to convey to them, and the chance to re-word the answer for better understanding.

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Renee March 23, 2017 at 5:13 pm

I believe that while email, texting, telecommuting, etc. all have their use; we are losing conversational skills. Many times technology cannot convey tone or intention as well as being face-to-face. Please do not misunderstand me, I am an avocet of written communication as you can refer back to it if and when needed but I feel that establishing a face-to-face relationship is just as necessary. I like to be able to put a face to a name. Having established good working relationships with others in my agency played a significant role in my being hired in a better department.

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Penelope March 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm

I think it depends on the people and the company. At my work, we communicate a lot on email. It’s a better way of showing proof you talked to someone or reference. A lot of people aren’t in our office, but in another town. They may have something I need to look at, but maybe I can’t look at it for a few hours. It’s easier for them to send me 20 emails, instead of call me 20 times about something. Plus we do a lot of email scanning documents to other departments. But, I work closely with another department and I’ll take the issues I need them to correct right to their desk. Explain the problem and leave it to them to correct. My boss will yell out if he needs an immediate answer or has a question on something. I think we have a pretty good balance.

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