Sneaky Employees Watching Mobile Online Video In The Workplace

Sneaky Employees Watching Mobile Online Video In The Workplace

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Qumu is a “video platform provider,” and they’ve just released a new version of their platform, version 6.0. To help celebrate and kick-off the launch, they’ve also released the findings of a very interesting study about online video in the workplace. They looked at how online video impacts the work environment, and found that men are far more likely than women to claim that they have never watched any kind of online video while on the clock. 

Online Video in the Workplace

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive, and was carried out in June 2011, and polled 2510 Americans over the age of 18. A majority of respondents–64% in fact–said that they watch online video regularly. But there’s a gender split when asked if they watch any of that video while at work: 53% of men said they don’t, and only 34% of women said the same.

Of the 17% of Americans who admitted to watching online video at work, the type of video consumed on the clock varies wildly:

  • News Video – 25%
  • Viral Videos – 15%
  • Videos Posted to Social Networking Sites – 12%
  • Sports Videos (March Madness, anyone?) – 11%
  • Television Shows – 9%
  • Full-Length Feature Films – 4%
  • Other Videos – 3%

Honestly, people… who’s sitting there watching a full-length movie during the work day? That’s just… blatant.

Anyway, the survey continues. When asked if employers should allow workers to use any mobile device they want for work related tasks–such as watching company videos, reading work emails, etc.–61% of respondents said they should. Qumu notes that this would be a challenge for many employers simply due to the bandwidth those mobile devices eat up. For instance, they say a 1.5-minute video is 700 times larger in file-size than the average email. But only half of those polled thought that average employees were aware of the extra strain this kind of activity causes to their boss’s network.

How Are Mobile Devices Used At Work

The portable nature of mobile devices, combined with their small size, makes it easier for employees to do the kinds of things they’re not supposed to. And that makes sense… how many of you have ever stealthily surfed the web or checked an email on your smartphone under the table during a business meeting?

Mobile devices have made employees more daring and risky. 74% said Americans are likely to do things on a mobile device that they wouldn’t do on a traditional work PC. What kind of things?

  • Look for another primary job – 52%
  • Visit a dating website – 47%
  • Look for another part-time job – 46%
  • Research embarrassing illnesses or medical conditions – 37%
  • Shop for lingerie or underwear – 33%
  • Investigate plastic surgery options – 20%

Oh my gosh. Who are you people that are doing this? You would think that enough of us have learned how computers work to know that this behavior is all traceable by your employer, but apparently that assumption would be wrong.

How Employees Hide Mobile Device Usage

So… since there are obviously a lot more misbehaving employees than I realized, let’s take a look at the most likely methods they use for serepticiously checking those mobile devices:

  • Hide device under table – 47% (told you)
  • Excusing themselves to go to the restroom – 42%
  • Hiding the device in folders, notebooks, and other papers – 35%
  • Pretending to tie their shoe – 9%
  • Creating a distraction – 8%

Wow. We Americans are clearly at our most creative whenever we’re trying to get away with something. Of course, a whopping 37% don’t think any kind of subterfuge is even necessary, stating that people are now likely to simply look at their mobile device in plain view.

Why Online Video Tempts Employees

The study concludes that online video can’t be eradicated from the workplace… people just love it too much. Here are some of the reasons respondents gave for why they watch so much online video in the workplace:

  • Video is convenient
  • Video is easily shared through email or social media
  • Video is engaging and memorable
  • It’s more private than watching something on TV
  • It’s easier to understand context than simple text


We can’t stop the wave, I suppose. People are going to be sneaking peaks at their mobile devices during work hours–and it seems that when they do that, they’re very often going to be watching video. Qumu takes a pretty solid stand against that behavior, and even timed this report to coincide with version 6.0 of their platform, which helps manage video from a central location.

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October 2018

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