Millennials Hate Phone Calls, and They Have a Point
Each generation has its quirks, and millennials are certainly no exception. One piece of unspoken etiquette? Avoid phone calls – at all costs.
Millennials are the generation that grew up bridging the digital age. They’re the very last ones who will ever remember what it is like to grow up without the Internet, and are also the ones who have actively participated in making it such an integral part of everyday life.
Because they have lived so much of their lives being extremely accessible to others – and can also recall a time when this wasn’t the norm – they are more sensitive to boundaries than some may assume.
In fact, phone calls seem invasive because it demands an instant response. In a world where their messages, emails and DMs pile up, they are at least afforded somewhat of a buffer when given time to respond on their own terms.
Be this as it is, it should come as no surprise that one of the greatest millennial pet peeves is hosting unnecessary calls and meetings. (This could have been an email, they’ll lament after a particularly overdrawn meeting.)
To some, this may seem rude, if not a bit standoffish. However, it’s actually fantastic for productivity, and we should all be taking a cue.
This is the millennial work email standard:
1. If it can be said in an email, send an email.
2. Always send an email, if sending an email is possible.
3. The only reason an email should not be sent to communicate basic information is if the conclusions, objectives or answers are not yet decided upon, and multiple people should be present to weigh in on them.
If you’re still not convinced, this is why the millennial expectation that emails should be standard – not in place of calls entirely, but largely for day-to-day communication.
Phone calls waste more time than they save.
A 15 minute phone call to convey two lines of information is a waste of time. Not only because there was a much more efficient way to share it, but also because the time you have to spend preparing for it, making small talk, and then getting back into the flow of your workday ends up being a huge buzzkill.
Email threads are better for organization.
Instead of trusting that each individual is taking notes and trying to keep track of who was assigned what, starting email threads including all necessary participants makes organization, and documentation, so much easier. If you are giving someone particular instructions, they can refer back to the message in their inbox, instead of having to call you... again.
Phone calls do not improve connection.
If your preference for a phone call is that you like to hear another person’s voice and foster a connection as opposed to just an avatar next to an email address, this is not the way to do it. Phone calls are generally buffered with unnecessary and sometimes awkward small talk. If connection is your goal, schedule a coffee, or lunch meeting. Not only does this create an opportunity to interact face-to-face, it gives participants time to anticipate and plan for it.
In our day-to-day work schedules, emails should consistently be the standard to share information. Though other mediums are important, allowing people to have their space to think, plan and respond is ultimately better for productivity – and passion – to truly thrive.