Many Experiencing Meeting Mishaps

For many, meetings with colleagues have become a little … different over the past few weeks. We’re (virtually) meeting new colleagues that might not be on the payroll, whether they be dogs, dads or babies. But even though fire alarms and fussy kids have replaced cubicle chatter as our background noise on calls, an Office Pulse study of 426 white-collar workers revealed some meeting mishaps you’d probably want to keep off the record.

“A co-worker didn’t realize their microphone was on and started baby talking to their significant other. It was awkward,” a male Millennial from Chicago said when asked what the funniest meeting mishap they’ve experienced recently was.

“My co-worker lives at home and her mother constantly interrupts our meetings to tell us stories about her day,” one female Gen Xer from Toronto said. “We sometimes chant, “Donna’s Mom! Donna’s Mom!” If her mother hasn’t made an appearance during our weekly huddles.”

“During a team meeting, one of the cats of a colleague started giving weird sounds and after hearing it, a cat in another colleague’s home started giving reply in similar kind of sounds, others in our call noticed it and we all cracked up,” a male Millennial from Los Angeles said.

Which of the following has occurred on a call/meeting you were in recently?

Heard a dog barking
Saw a child run on/off screen
Saw a cat (or pet) wander in front of the camera
Someone cooking/doing chores in the background
Heard a toilet flushing
Heard gossip, they didn’t press mute

Kids really do say the darndest things

When looking at key terms in open ended responses, a few stuck out. Kids were a hot topic in business meetings, appearing in 42 responses. Pets showed up in 25 responses. The terms mute/unmute were in 14 responses- so really, double check that mic button. And finally, while the terms toilet and bathroom were in just nine responses, we think that’s nine too many.

What’s the funniest meeting mishap you’ve experienced recently?

Apparently my co-workers could see my underwear that I had flung on the bed when I was getting dressed for the meeting. 

Female, Baby Boomer, New York

I had a camera filter on when I went into an office meeting.  Oops!  I was wearing kitten ears.

Male, Baby Boomer, NYC

My friend’s dog barked while we were on a zoom group call. My dog barked in return. Next thing we knew, the two dogs had taken over the call barking at each other and licking the screens.

Female, Gen Xer, Philadelphia

Someone was on a video conference and was dressed from the waist up but didn’t know others could see he wasn’t properly dressed from below the waist.

Male, Gen Xer, Los Angeles

Flossing teeth is just entirely too personal.  I do not like it at all.

Female, Millennial, Houston

I was on a conference call when my kids went into my car and pressed a button, resulting in my call being transferred to my vehicle Bluetooth.

Female, Millennial, Chicago

I left to get a cup of coffee, when I came back my cat was on the keyboard of my laptop just writing letters randomly … on our internal chat.

Female, Gen Xer, Toronto

My coworker’s preschool son climbed up on a kitchen stool behind her, wearing just his underwear!

Female, Gen Xer, Boston

Was on a Zoom video call last week when a 4-year-old decided to strip and run into my office shaking his booty. Thank goodness I was quick on the trigger finger and my desk wasn’t facing the doorway.

Female, Millennial, Chicago

I was on a phone conference (audio only) with over 100 people. Someone forgot to mute their line, and they flushed the toilet. It was obvious to everyone that it was a toilet flush. Took about 10 min for the giggles to die down.

Male, Millennial

So, if your meetings have been a little quirky and offbeat as of late, just know you’re not alone. In fact, even the Supreme Court experienced a meeting mishap last week: A toilet flush could be overheard during oral arguments.

About Office Pulse

Office Pulse by Captivate offers marketers timely analysis and insights from a proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets. The Office Pulse panel of more than 8,000 influential consumers and business decision makers includes C-level executives, Millennials, middle management, small business owners, working women and working moms.

About Captivate

Known for its vast network of nearly 12,000 elevator displays located in 1,600 premier office buildings across North America, Captivate connects advertisers with 13 million unique monthly viewers through creative, research-driven and Nielsen-measured advertising and marketing programs. By engaging its viewers with timely news and actionable information that helps balance the personal and professional demands of the workday, Captivate provides advertisers with a highly desirable and difficult-to-reach audience of affluent and influential business professionals. Founded in 1997, Captivate is owned by Generation Partners. For more information, please visit