Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Brits missing workplace small talk; and older workers are feeling it the most

A staggering 80.9% of Brits admit that they’re missing making small talk with colleagues while they’re away from the workplace.

That’s according to a new study from the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library.

The study surveyed 1,200 UK professionals and reveals that 55-64 year olds are missing small talk the most (83.3%); versus just 65.6% of under 18s and 76% of 18-24 year olds. Interestingly, 83.2% of 25-34 year olds also said they’re missing it; the second highest response out of all age groups surveyed. 

In addition to this, the study asked respondents what they have been talking about when they do speak with colleagues during lockdown, with the findings revealing the most popular topics are: weather (51%), weekends (46.8%), workload (25.5%), food (23.9%), news (23%), family (22.2%) and TV (16.4%).

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments: 

“As human beings, we need face-to-face interaction with one another in order to feel connected, but unfortunately this just isn’t an option right now. We’ve been in lockdown for nearly two months and it’s no wonder that Brits are missing their colleagues and the working environment. Thankfully, technology enables us to easily see and speak to the people we work with every day; but there may well be individuals that you aren’t interacting with as much as you would ordinarily.”

Alongside this, while only 30.4% of respondents said they find small talk awkward, this figure rose to 53.1% amongst under 18s and 56% amongst 18-24 year olds. Interestingly, the younger generation admit to actively avoiding making small talk with colleagues. In fact, 65.6% of under 18s admit that they do this, followed by 53.8% of 25-34 year olds and 52% of 18-24 year olds.

Respondents were also asked where the most common places were for making small talk in the workplace; with 35.3% saying the kitchen, 19.6% in meetings, 15.6% at your desk and 10.8% in a dedicated smoking area. Alongside this, 9.6% said the bathroom and 9.1% said the entrance of the building.

Biggins continues: 

While some professions were able to go ‘back to work’ this week, many of us will be away from the workplace for some time; so, think about how you can improve your engagement with others. Make sure you’re checking in with colleagues and asking how they are – especially individuals who may live by themselves or who are currently on furlough. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until we’re back making small talk face-to-face, but in the meantime, pick up the phone or schedule in a video call – it can make all the difference.”

About CV-Library

CV-Library is one of the UK’s largest online job sites and attracts over 4.3 million unique job seekers every month. Founded by Lee Biggins in 2000, CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent online job board with a database of over 15 million CVs.