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Dave Carter
Dave Carter
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 16th August 2021

Lack of face-to-face interaction is damaging young people’s career prospects

Less face-to-face interactions at work, due to COVID-19, could harm the long-term career prospects of young professionals, according to a global survey that included University of Sydney graduates. In this article we explore how permanent working from home can negatively impact career prospects and wellbeing, and highlight why the office is more important than ever.

72% of young professionals believe their career prospects are being harmed

The international survey conducted by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education found that 72 percent of survey participants* from over 40 countries (recent postgraduates, mostly in their early to mid-twenties) believe that not being able to physically network with colleagues will negatively affect their long-term careers.

Furthermore, just over two-thirds believed that a lack of face-to-face training would negatively impact their careers, whilst 66% cited tighter training budgets as an obstacle that would significantly affect their career progression.

Roland Siegers, Executive Director of CEMS, said: “These young professionals recognise that social interaction and collaboration is not only a fundamental human need, but also a valuable source of innovation, productivity and growth during times of crisis”.

Half of under 35’s said lack of connections to colleagues impacted their work

In another employee survey** by Management Consultancy Lane 4, almost half of respondents under 35 cited that a lack of motivation whilst working from home had hindered their work performance. Furthermore, just over a quarter of under 35’s stated that lack of connections to colleagues in their team adversely affected their performance.

Adrian Moorhouse, Managing Director at Lane4 said: “It’s understandable that in the early days of the pandemic a lot of organisational focus went towards keeping the lights on and implementing technologies to enable people to work remotely. But attention now needs to turn towards the behaviours that are crucial to enabling people to perform their best in the new world of work.”

Key reasons why face-to-face meetings in the office are so important

With such strong sentiments about career prospects being harmed it’s helpful to understand what it is about face-to-face office meetings that makes them so important.

Face to face meetings help build stronger relationships and trust

A customer will feel a stronger connection to a company if they have met them in person. If you value a client’s business and take the trouble to visit them or invite them to your office, it shows that you really appreciate their custom. If you want to build loyalty and trust, then meeting in person facilitates greater interaction and you can effectively communicate with verbal and body language.

When it’s important to communicate your goals, face to face is usually the best method. The office environment provides the best business setting in which to have a conversation whereby you can easily read facial expressions and body language. Consequently, the meetings we have in person are often deemed to be more credible and beneficial than those via technology.

More than half of us do other things during virtual meetings

Hands up if you’re guilty of doing any of these things during virtual meetings: checking your emails, messaging, multitasking, snacking, browsing social media? If so, you’re not alone. These were the top five activities that more than half of respondents admitted to doing whilst in a virtual meeting according to a recent survey of 2000 workers.

When you’re meeting face to face in the office the chances of getting distracted are vastly reduced, there’s an expectation to concentrate, engage and respond. As a result, structured in-person office-based meetings tend to be more productive.

Flexible offices – great places to meet and collaborate

At Office Freedom we have full access to the world of flexible offices which provide ideal locations for meetings and collaboration. Our offices are COVID-19 secure, fully furnished and available for short or long-term rent. Offices are available now, nationally and internationally, and there’s somewhere to suit every budget.

*CEMS surveyed 310 master’s students to obtain these results.

** The data from Lane4 was collected by YouGov in September 2020 and surveyed 1324 UK employees.