Working in the legal industry requires communicating with numerous people on a daily basis, whether it’s clients, colleagues, third parties, you often have to handle requests and other enquiries, often on the phone.

According to research, this is causing serious problems for some in the legal industry in the form of ‘telephobia’ or phone anxiety – a fear of dealing with phone calls.

In this research, we’ll uncover the extent to which phone anxiety is affecting employees in the legal industry.

This report is based on a survey of 250 office based employees carried independently in June 2022, specifically the report will look at:

      • How many legal employees have experienced phone anxiety in the last 12 months
      • The extent to which employees experienced phone anxiety
      • Why employees are experiencing phone anxiety
      • What, if anything, working from home has done to the level of phone anxiety in the workforce
      • Whether phone anxiety is restricted to younger workers
      • If more training could reduce anxiety (and if it’s being offered)

Report highlights

    • More than a quarter of respondents say they have a general dislike/ anxiety of using the phone
    • Nearly 10% say they’re afraid they won’t be able to understand the caller
    • Nearly one in five employees say they experience extreme anxiety over phone calls
    • Nearly 70% of legal employees have avoided answering the phone in the last 12 months because of anxiety
    • Nearly third of employees say working from home has made their anxiety worse

Phone anxiety stopping employees picking up the phone

Our research has found that phone anxiety is a serious problem for office workers in the legal industry.

In fact many say they have experienced such bad anxiety it’s prevented them from picking up the phone. Nearly one in seven (69%) said this.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that 18-34 year olds are the age group most likely to experience anxiety about phone calls.

79% of this age group said they experienced phone anxiety in the last 12 months.

That’s compared to 61% of 35-54 year olds and 61% of 55-74 year olds.

Of those who said they’d experienced phone anxiety in the last year, more than a quarter (27%) said they had a general fear of answering phone calls.

14% said they were concerned they would be able to help a customer and would be confronted with an unhappy or angry customer as a result, and 14% said they were concerned they might be judged by colleagues or managers for the way they deal with calls.

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How severe is phone anxiety in the legal sector?

As well as revealing the existence of phone anxiety amongst a high proportion of legal workers, our research has also revealed the extent to which employees experience anxiety – and the results aren’t good.

According to our research, a third of employees say they’d rate their anxiety between very and extremely anxious.

Nearly 50% said they rated their anxiety at a lower level, between somewhat anxious and anxious.

How has working from home affected phone anxiety levels?

Working from home has become more prevalent in many industries in the last few years, and the legal sector is no different.

And working from home is creating more levels of fear among employees when it comes to answering the phone.

Nearly a third (31%) of employees say working from home has made them more anxious about dealing with calls.

Most employees say the lack of immediate support when working from home is the reason for being more anxious.

One in 10 say they’re more concerned about a caller being confrontational and being unable to pass them onto another person who can help.

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 employee 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.

It’s time to get to grips with phone anxiety in the legal sector

It’s pretty clear from our research that phone anxiety is a real and serious problem within the legal sector with employees stating they experience anxiety often and to a large extent.

It’s not even just younger workers who are suffering from this either, although they are being affected more, and phone anxiety is a problem across the board in the legal sector.

It raises questions about the levels of support being offered to employees, particularly to younger workers who are less experienced and potentially lack the confidence to deal with enquiries over the phone.

Finally, there needs to be a review of training when it comes to phone calls, as most employees say it would help them with their anxiety, but employers aren’t offering training on the whole.

Could a telephone answering service be the answer?

While training and support is definitely needed to decrease the levels of phone anxiety among employees, there could be another solution too.

A telephone answering service can help take the stress of dealing with calls away from employees by managing all the incoming calls a business has during the day.

Whether employees work remotely or in the office, a telephone answering service can handle all calls initially, take messages and forward calls to your team so they have the information they need to deal with the call effectively.

Or, you can have messages taken and forwarded to your team to deal with later.

By taking the stress of phone calls away from your employees you’ll have more time to deal with important business tasks, or dealing with more complex customers enquiries.

If you want to find out how a telephone answering service could benefit your law office, get in touch.

We can give you a 7 day FREE trial of our phone answering service with no obligation.

We’ll set you up on our system just like we could a client, and then you’ll get the benefit of our services.

If you’re not convinced after the trial, you can simply cancel and walk away, no obligations and no hard feelings.