Graduates bemused by low-tech offices

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New graduates entering the workplace need more innovative communication technologies, such as instant messaging and web cams, to help them perform to the best of their abilities in the office..

A survey by communications company Plantronics showed that technologies used frequently by people outside the professional environment to communicate are now considered by graduates to be ripe for the office.

Over four-fifths of graduates said that a hands-free headset would allow them to converse away from their desks with greater privacy.

Three-quarters think that a webcam and access to instant messaging applications in the office would help them respond more quickly and personally to clients and suppliers.

However, almost a third of managers believe their office to be sufficiently well-equipped, and fewer than 20 percent agree with graduates over IM and webcams.

This seems to indicate a 'digital divide' in the workplace as younger employees appear to be more tech savvy and likely to use non-traditional methods and equipment.

"The way this new generation wants to work is different and that is no surprise," said Paul Clark, general manager at Plantronics UK.

"Graduates have grown up with newer forms of communication and we are not just talking email and mobile phones.

"By embracing IM and hands-free, or even providing this new workforce with greater flexibility in where and when they work, employers can maximise the potential of the young talent they have."

Two-thirds of managers in the UK indicated that graduates communicate less vocally than their colleagues and believe them to be forsaking face-to-face and telephone conversations in favour of email.

However, graduates and managers alike blame the lack of privacy in modern offices and the security of being able to refer back to emails as the main r easons behind this behaviour.

Only 16 percent of graduate managers blamed their resistance to pick up the phone or talk face to face on a lack of interpersonal skills.

Interestingly, the survey showed that both managers and graduates relied mostly on email to communicate, despite neither group believing that it is the best way to communicate with colleagues or clients.

A hefty 64 percent of workers actually believes that meeting face-to-face is the optimal method of client communication, but fewer than half of that percentage (31 percent) actually found the time to do so.

The survey also found that the majority of graduates are not wasting work time on social networking sites. Almost 60 percent claimed to spend no time at all during work on sites such as Facebook.

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