The wacky things people really do during conference calls (infographic)

God oh God do I hate conference calls. It’s like 20 people wearing blindfolds trying to hold a conversation in a windstorm.

The interruptions, false starts, loud break-ins, three people talking at once, the dog barking in the background, the one guy standing in downtown Manhattan who won’t hit the mute button.

And above all, boredom. It’s no wonder people always multitask during conference calls.

The top three things employees do during mobile conference calls are completely unrelated to the call they’re listening in on. A study by the conferencing company InterCall found that 65 percent of employees do other work and 55 percent eat or make food.

And 47 percent say they’ve sat on conference calls while sitting on the toilet. Think about that next time you dial in for your Monday pow-wow.

Mobile conferencing and collaboration tools have made it possible for workers to call in from just about everywhere. According to InterCall, total mobile conference calls were up 23 percent from 2011 to 2012 and 19 percent from 2012 to 2013. Twenty-one percent of total conference call minutes came from mobile devices in 2013.

Intercall dug into its 20+ billion conferencing minutes to learn about how people conference on mobile, as well as surveyed more than 500 outside, full-time employees.

Here are some of the study’s highlights:

  • 65% of respondents said they’d muted the phone to talk to someone else during a conference
  • 23% said they do social networking stuff
  • 65% said they do other work during conference calls
  • 27% of respondents have fallen asleep during a conference call
  • Men are more likely than women to multitask during a conference call
  • The #1 place besides an office people take conference calls is…the restroom

See the full results in the infographic below. Click on the thumbnails to see the full size images.

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Daniel V Donnelly
Daniel V Donnelly

They doesn't read what the has written for they grammatical errors in subheads to they posts before the publishing them. :-)

Craig Phillips
Craig Phillips

If you feel the need to take a call while sitting on the toilet at work then I feel the need to flush every toilet and start every hand dryer. Yes, I've done it more than once.

Mike McLeod
Mike McLeod

Yes. Because how many conference calls are an otherwise complete waste of our life?

Alan Stadnyk
Alan Stadnyk

I don't know. Just because people are on their mobile speakerphone doesn't make it wacky or a "conference call" just makes it -- on the speakerphone while doing things e.g. like preparing food for their children in the kitchen. Yes it's kind of odd that some people make calls while in a restroom...if it is a public restroom where strangers can overhear your conversation, then yes -- definitely wacky. If it is employment related -- I'm usually in a position where I don't want the person hearing me all shuffling around or asking in halls for co-workers while on the call holding my mobile the 80% stat about muting versus a landline where I have to call them back "in a few minutes" regardless entirely holds true.