A survey conducted by Sofutsu Co. in Tokyo revealed that over 70% of young adults in their 20s and 30s in Japan have ‘phone phobia’ – an anxiety or discomfort regarding making or receiving phone calls.
The online survey, conducted from August 4-7, 2023, polled 562 adults aged 20 and above who work in offices with landlines. When asked if they felt uncomfortable on phone calls, 57.8% of all respondents said ‘very much’ or ‘somewhat’. This percentage jumped to 72.7% when looking at only those in their 20s and 30s, indicating a high rate of phone phobia among Japanese youth.
Sofutsu theorizes this phobia stems from the proliferation of messaging apps and social media, which have reduced the need for young people to talk on the phone. Specific concerns cited include worry about answering questions correctly, transferring calls properly, and informing supervisors about calls.
The survey also found disparities by age group in call volume at work. While 20-somethings reported answering 5.8 calls per day on average, those in their 50s fielded the most at 12.7 calls daily. Nearly half of all respondents said they disliked when the landline rings because it breaks their concentration.
With the average worker spending 93 hours on the phone per year, Sofutsu concluded that companies urgently need to optimize phone call management to improve the work environment, especially for younger workers uncomfortable with phones.