Zoom and doom: Virtual meeting gaffes have cost people jobs, opportunities

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Errors made during audio or video conference calls have cost employees during hybrid and remote work, and bosses are still split on who is ultimately responsible for remote technology running smoothly.

The findings come from Vyopta, which worked with Wakefield Research to conduct a survey of 200 U.S. executives at the vice president level with companies of 500 employees or more between July 30 and Aug. 10. 

The majority of executive respondents (83 percent) have seen employees face a range of responses to audio or video conference call mistakes, including termination (24 percent), removal from a project (33 percent), formal reprimands (38 percent), informal reprimands (40 percent), and loss of responsibility for setting up calls (53 percent). 

Some blunders made in the professional setting via Zoom, Teams or other video platforms have been widely publicized and even gone viral throughout the pandemic, when the "new normal" of working from home didn't always go as planned. Aside from those one-of-a-kind gaffes, common mistakes in virtual meetings include mistakenly oversharing private information, seemingly private chats going public, having a poor Internet connection, household interruptions, and mute or camera problems. 

But as some employers move into the 18th month of hybrid or remote work arrangements, a disconnect remains over who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that needed remote collaboration technology is available and working. Fifty-eight percent of executives said it is employers' responsibility, while 42 percent said the burden is on employees.

Executives know they pay a price when virtual communication gets rocky: 32 percent reported losing a client or business opportunity because of tech or connection problems, according to the survey.

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