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Gen Z Changing Workplace Communication Style, British Survey Finds

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 14, 2023

Seven in 10 British workers believe that the members of Generation Z (ages 18 to 24) are changing the way people speak and write in the office, new research from Barclays LifeSkills found.

Fully 70 percent of the more than 2,000 U.K.-based respondents over 18 surveyed in August said they had noticed a change in the way people speak at work over the last five years. Seventy-one percent believed that it was due to Gen Z’s changing the formality of language in the workplace. Seventy-three percent said their own communication style at work has become more casual, as a result. 

The research also listed the top five phrases due for retirement in the next 10 years: “Yours Truly,” “Yours Sincerely,” “To Whom It May Concern,” “With Compliments,” and “Respects.” Almost one third believed “With Compliments” (33 percent) and “Respects” (31 percent) within email communication will become extinct in the next 10 years..

Thirty-seven percent found “Yours truly” and “Yours sincerely” to be old fashioned. While “Thanks” (46 percent) and “Thanks so much” (50 per cent) were seen as friendly, “Ta!” was seen that way by 23 percent. Forty-two percent considered “Hiya” to be friendly, 36 percent found it casual, and 26 percent thought that it was overly familiar.

The research also revealed the changing nature of interpersonal communications in the workplace. NInety-seven percent of those surveyed want to show their personality through office interactions, but 40 percent struggled to do so through emails alone.

“Changing norms in the workplace are reflected in the language younger employees use, and the way communication has changed in general," said Dr. Laura Bailey, a senior lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Kent. "Email threads and instant messaging platforms have become blended into ‘conversations’ where formal openings and sign offs might feel out of place. For the older generation, letter-writing etiquette might be drilled in enough that it is instinctive in any written communication. Whereas for Gen Z, social media has driven linguistic change and sped up the spread of language trends.”