Workers in the UK’s legal industry who have worked from home at least part of the time in the last 12 months say they have experienced increased levels of phone anxiety, compared to when they work in the office.
Nearly one in three employees (31%) say they are more anxious answering phone calls when working from home.
Younger workers in particular – 18-34 – say they are more anxious about dealing with work calls at home when compared to older age groups.
These are some of the findings in a new report by telephone answering service provider Face For Business, which analysed the levels of phone anxiety in the legal sector.
As part of the study 250 office workers were asked about their experience with phone anxiety in the workplace in the last year.
Lack of support and confrontation driving higher anxiety
For most employees, the lack of immediate support when working from home was the biggest reason for increasing levels of phone anxiety, with employees saying they felt more isolated.
One in 10 employees said they were concerned about having to deal with a confrontational customer on the phone, and being unable to pass them on to the right person who could help.
Overall, it was the increased feeling of isolation that was resulting in higher levels of phone anxiety among workers who were spending more time dealing with work calls from home.
Is a lack of training holding employees back?
With phone anxiety high among legal workers, employers don’t seem to be offering the levels of support employees want.
While half of employees surveyed in FFB’s study said more training would reduce their levels of phone anxiety when working from home, only 17% said their employer actually offered them any training on the phone.
Speaking about the results of the study, Andy MacGregor, managing director of Face For Business, said:
“Working from home can be highly beneficial to employees and employers alike, but more needs to be done to support employees who are working from home. We’ve found that support is severely lacking in the workplace and this is leaving employees anxious and feeling isolated when dealing with calls.
“We need to see more investment in this training and support to ensure employees are able to do their jobs effectively, and without fear.”
Do you think more training would increase your confidence dealing with phone calls?
Given the levels of phone anxiety amongst office workers in the legal sector, it might be assumed that more training would be made available to help them.
Especially as 50% of employees in our survey say more training would likely make them less anxious.
However, despite employees wanting more training and believing it would help, only 17% of employees we asked said their employer included phone training as part of their employment.
What this clearly shows is that more needs to be done to support employees when it comes to phone calls.