Countless studies decry the need for business meetings, with evidence they are time-wasters and reduce productivity by confusing the focus of employees.
But business meetings still take place, and some of them take place via video-conferencing. Some employees handle video-conferencing better than others. Some employees handle video-conferencing better than others.
A poll by California-based video-conferencing service Highfive asked 1,200 office workers about a variety of workday distractions, including business meetings via video conferences. Men are far more likely to be distracted during video conferences, to a fairly high degree.
Video-conferencing continues to grow, especially as economies become more global. The benefits of video-conferencing are two-fold: they reduce travel budgets because meetings between people do not need to be with everyone gathered at one site, and they are superior to voice conferencing because face-to-face communication is more direct and effective than voice conversations.
But video-conferencing does allow for some non-business behavior that face-to-face conferencing does not, and that is the point of the Highfive study.
Approximately 36 percent of men text others during video-conferences, to just 25 percent of women. More than one quarter (27 percent) of men check personal e-mails in a video-conference to 17 percent of women, and the same percentage is reported for men and women browsing the Internet when they are supposed to be involved in a video conference.
Men send approximately six texts or e-mails per meeting to four for women.
It seems men also prepare better for being distracted than women do. When a video conference is conducted on a large screen in a business conference room, 55 percent of men bring their laptops the meeting while only 33 percent of women do.
Men most often complain about the electronic connection during a video conference and get put off by frozen screens or slow conversations. Women still complain most about how they appear in a video conference.
The Highfive survey also asked whether employees ever found themselves sleeping during a video conference, and among those who answered in the affirmative, 64 percent were men.