Offices today often span multiple generations, all with slightly differing communication styles. Here at Faith, we’ve been exploring how we communicate both in and out of the workplace. 

Abi (Gen Z), Nicola (Gen X), Rhianne (Gen Z), Nicole (Millennial) and Stef (Gen X) from the Faith team have been answering some questions about their communication preferences, so we can see how big (or small!) the generational gap really is, and explore how best to communicate between generations in the workplace.. 

Which do you prefer, phone calls or emails? 

Abi (Gen Z): I think there’s a place for both. Emails can give you a bit more control and let you plan out what to say which can be good for detailed briefs and important conversations that need documenting.  

However, a phone call often helps to check in with clients/colleagues, and actually speaking to people helps to build relationships. 

Nicola (Gen X): It depends what for. Phone for speed of response, or to explain something difficult or sensitive as you can be more nuanced, gauge response in real time and modify the delivery. You can also get answers to questions faster and work things around immediately.  

Email for getting your info across when you think by phone you would get shut down before you get to the important stuff, and for covering your back (getting it on the record that you said what you said). But it can be open to misinterpretation. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): 100% emails, I’m a huge introvert and one of my biggest pet peeves is small talk. But I do think sometimes if me or the person I’m talking to has loads of questions its easier and quicker to hop on a call. 

Nicole (Millennial): Emails. 

Stef (Gen X): Generally, emails but sometimes emailing can be lazy and picking up the phone is quicker and more effective! 

Instant messages or emails? 

Abi (Gen Z): Again, both! 

Nicola (Gen X): Emails for important things. I like an email trail. Instant message for quick dross. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): For work, definitely emails, unless a quick answer is needed, emails are just easier to refer back to. 

Nicole (Millennial): Hmm, depends how quick I need a response! I do find myself using FB Messenger more often now. 

Stef (Gen X): Depends on the context. Messages for family, friends and sometimes colleagues, but emails for clients.

 

What is your emailing style, concise messages, or something wordier? 

Abi (Gen Z): I try to keep it concise so there’s less room for confusion or misinterpretation (or people not reading it all!) but I will always offer a chat or phone call to go over details if needed. 

Nicola (Gen X): Wordier! 

Rhianne (Gen Z): Probably concise – short, sweet, and to the point. 

Nicole (Millennial): Short, concise and straight to the point. 

Stef (Gen X): Concise – usually either down to me being in a rush or it’s simply my German bluntness coming to the fore! 

Emojis or no emojis?

Abi (Gen Z): Generally emojis unless it’s something more serious. 

Nicola (Gen X): Emojis when used appropriately. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): Emojis – I just wish it was easier to use them on a laptop! 

Nicole (Millennial): At every (appropriate) opportunity, I love a good emoji. 

Stef (Gen X): Again, depends on the context and relationship. You have to assess whether they’re appropriate to whoever is on the receiving end. 

What are your thoughts on working from home/hybrid working?

Abi (Gen Z): I think it’s great! It really helps with work-life balance and I often feel I can get more done at home. Although, there is definitely a place for offices still, especially in creative industries like ours, nothing beats getting everyone together for a brainstorm or to discuss a brief. 

Nicola (Gen X): I wouldn’t be able to the job I do now if I had to be in the office every day as it is too far to commute. I like the office when necessary for face-to-face creative interaction. Teams calls are okay for work but less so for creativity. I like working from home as I can concentrate on what I am doing with fewer distractions. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): I love it – I think it gives me a better work life balance, helps my concentration, and gives me so much more flexibility.  

Nicole (Millennial): I think it gives you a bit more flexibility and makes things a bit easier not having to get up, ready and out the door five days a week. 

Stef (Gen X): Hybrid is a good middle ground and WFH can be of benefit if you need to get your head down without distractions and help create a better life balance without a commute. 

But when WFH, the buzz you get in an agency, which drives a lot of activity and urgency, is missing. It’s also the harder-to-measure benefits like creativity, client engagement and employee wellbeing which need human interaction to work and are difficult to achieve remotely. 

So many ideas spring from spontaneous and random chats that come out of shared experience, especially in a creative industry such as ours. 

Three years into hybrid working, I also feel that those starting out their career miss out on crucial learning and guidance that come from on-the-job interaction in an office environment. So much is learned from face-to-face interaction and observing behaviours from colleagues. Emotional intelligence is not easily learned over a screen! 

How do you communicate with friends and family outside of work? 

Abi (Gen Z): Instagram or Facebook messenger. 

Nicola (Gen X): WhatsApp, Messenger, and sometimes phone calls usually with older family. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): I prefer to communicate in person, but if not it completely depends on the friend or family member. 

Nicole (Millennial): WhatsApp is my go-to but I do give my parents a ring quite often too.    

Stef (Gen X): WhatsApp, Messenger or phone calls for my family in Germany. 

What is your favourite social media platform? 

Abi (Gen Z): Instagram. 

Nicola (Gen X): TikTok. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): I’d have to say TikTok, it’s the one I spend the most time on and enjoy being on the most. 

Nicole (Millennial): Probably Instagram or TikTok, perfect for mindless scrolling! 

Stef (Gen X): Instagram. 

Is WhatsApp for work or personal use? If both, what do you think about the blurred line? 

Abi (Gen Z): Work, I didn’t have WhatsApp until I needed it for a job. However, I do also have some family group chats on there as not everyone is on the other social media channels. 

Nicola (Gen X): I’m not keen on WhatsApp for work. I like to keep work and personal time separate and out of office hours it can sometimes feel a bit intrusive. 

Rhianne (Gen Z): I use it for both but would prefer it to stay personal. I struggle with the blurred line because work related messages often come through outside of work hours making it harder to disconnect from work and have a clear separation. 

Nicole (Millennial): I’d say more for personal use but colleagues do use it if they have quick questions for the clients and I think it does come in handy and speed things up. I probably would use it more for work if my job wasn’t the one I currently do (chasing and sending invoices wouldn’t be ideal over WhatsApp!). 

Stef (Gen X): Both, although we try and keep the Faith WhatsApp group to either light-hearted banter and content, celebrating successes such as media coverage that has been secured or to communicate urgent messages. If you don’t want to see work messages on a weekend then either, don’t engage, or if you’re not disciplined enough to not read them, then mute them until Monday! 

Are you a TikTok user? What is it about the platform that sucks you in? If no, what is it that doesn’t appeal? 

Abi (Gen Z): Yes, it’s very addictive! I think their algorithm is also top notch, I very rarely see content that isn’t relevant. 

Nicola (Gen X): I like watching lives from interesting places around the world and asking people questions about where they are / what they are experiencing at that moment. I feel like I could almost be there when it is a live.  

Rhianne (Gen Z): Yes, I think for me it’s the For You page, it’s so easy to scroll though whilst and get a range of content. I like that most of it is suited to my interests but there’s still some random content in there! 

Nicole (Millennial): Yes, yes, yes. It’s just easy to navigate, there isn’t anything that requires much brain-power. You’re able to watch video after video with the flick of your thumb. 

Stef (Gen X): Not truly. I don’t have much time to spend time scrolling through social media! 

If you want to find out more about the Faith team, read our Meet the Team Q&As here