Travel and technology complement – not compete – to make work more productive
Bad Calls – Mobility takes conference into uncharted waters
Handheld mobility in the workplace is connecting businesses, opening up new opportunities, attracting new knowledge workers to strengthen and often diversify a workforce, and even creating new economies by bringing businesses, advertising, applications and more to one platform. Walk through an airport, and you’ll see it first hand. On your next trip as you traverse from terminal to terminal, count how many people are not on the phone. Mobile has not only enabled a highly connected society, it has created some very interesting habits.
For example, participating in a conference call walking through the terminal seems innocent enough; after all you’re more likely to be productive as you’re on the way to do more business.
The world’s largest conferencing provider, InterCall, a subsidiary of West Corporation, helps Business Traveler put this conversation into context. InterCall’s recent research shows just how much mobile is impacting conferencing habits. Digging into its 20 billionplus conferencing minutes and surveying more than 500 outside, full-time employees, some surprising outcomes emerged.
Now, we all know that using mobile for conference calls allows us greater freedom. However one might question how attentive conference call attendees are, given all this independence. InterCall’s research found that 82 percent of those surveyed admitted to working on unrelated items while on a conference call. The ability to multi-task may be why 64 percent of those surveyed actually preferred joining a conference via a mobile device over a landline.
So what are people doing when they are dialed into a call?
Yes, walking through the terminal is not the only place where people are“multitasking.”If your eyebrows rose at the idea of taking conference calls in the bathroom, then you will see that airports are not the only places where people are leveraging the freedom of mobile.
Some of the strangest places where employees took conference calls included: trying on clothes in a fitting room, behind a church during a wedding rehearsal, at the racetrack and even at Disneyland. Now that is magical.
Hello? You Still There?
At least these folks actually stayed on the call. According to the survey, 39 percent of employees admitted to dropping off a call without announcing it so that they could pretend to have participated the whole time. Another 27 percent admitted to falling asleep during a call. And a brave five percent said they’ve had a friend take a work conference call in their place.
There is no question conference calling and mobile conferencing will continue to grow. InterCall saw an increase in both number of calls and total conference minutes increase significantly year over year. That said, with people falling asleep, having friends make the call, and doing something completely unrelated, one wonders: Wherein lies the value?
That’s why those in-and-out airport meetings are so popular among business travelers (see Day Trippers, page 26). Granted, time on the road may require more time away – hence those harried airport conference calls. But the truth is, most of us feel those inperson moments simply add more value.
Yes, I will continue to participate in conference calls, and yes, from my mobile device. But I’ll also continue to take to the road for those all-important in-person meetings, even if they are there-andback, because they are face-to-face.
Both face-to-face and mobile conferencing are critical to our success, there is no question. But knowing what might be going on at the other end of the line, you may view your next conference call with a little more skepticism. Now you can be all the wiser. BT