The “manterruption”—an unwelcome interjection from a man while a woman is speaking—is commonplace in the co-ed workplace, but its origins remain hazy. Can these men not hear the hushed utterances from the delicate mouths of womankind? Could be. Or, according to a new survey, they might not be paying attention at all.
The poll, commissioned by California-based video-conferencing company Highfive, asked 1,200 office workers about their workday distractions. Far more men than women reported doing nonwork-related activities during meetings. Men were more likely to send texts (36 percent of men vs. 25 percent of women), check personal emails (27 vs. 17 percent), browse the Internet (27 vs. 17 percent), and check on their fantasy sports teams (11 vs. 5 percent). They send around six texts, emails, or Snapchats during the average meeting, while women send around four. Laptop use may be part of the problem—55 percent of men bring them to meetings, while only 33 percent of women do.
While men’s biggest complaint about video conferencing was that poor connection could lead to a slow or frozen picture, women were most concerned about being seen on camera—not surprising in an office culture that still judges women by their appearances before their accomplishments.
But at least women remain alert on the job. When men aren’t totally checked out during meetings, they’re far away in dreamland: Of the survey respondents who copped to taking naps in office conference rooms, 64 percent were men. Though that doesn’t necessarily bode well for company productivity, there’s at least one upside: At least sleeping men can’t manterrupt.