Audio conferencing provides opportunities for people to work from home and take part in meetings without colleagues knowing where they, what they’re doing or how they’re dressed.
According to a survey from BT Conferencing, more than 68% of us have dialled into a conference call at home wearing pyjamas, almost half of us called in our undies and, apparently, 20% just didn’t bother with clothes at all. With BT handling 15 million audio conferences a year in the UK alone, involving 60 million participants, that’s an awful lot of conversations between barely dressed people.
That’s not all, there were also some bizarre locations for calls. The most popular place is actually from bed (which explains the jimjams) followed by (and I kid you not) the toilet. Outside the home a train or a car is common and the ski slopes or the beach are not unusual. While you’re on the call you may also be cooking, changing nappies, feeding babies, shopping, painting the ceiling, getting waxed, having a massage or getting your feet done at the chiropodist.
It does, though, go to show that some green ICT benefits are unexpected. We know audio- and video-conferencing can cut down on the emissions from travel, but who would have thought it would also reduce the need to wash clothes?
Finally, as someone who has spent a large part of my life working from home, I just want to reassure colleagues and clients that this is not a scenario I recognise (and frankly, I don’t really believe it). Those I speak to on the phone, conference call or otherwise, can rest assured that I’m fully dressed and at my desk (unless, of course, it’s on the mobile …).
But it might all be changing anyway. The use of high quality video conferencing, where you can see the other participants as if they were in the same room, is growing fast. Ovum expects 26% of conferences will be held by video by 2012.
(*Jimjams – Child’s word for pyjamas in the UK. Flim-flam - ‘Talk that is confusing and intended to deceive’.)