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More than 90% of professionals admit never actually meeting co-workers

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In the age of virtual work, project teams are assembled and dis-assembled as business opportunities or problems emerge and are addressed. The internet, with its mobile and social capabilities, enable people from across the globe to collaborate, and even see each other over video. However, it's increasingly rare that people actually meet each other face-to-face -- and that can be costly or even embarrassing.

That's the finding of a new survey, released by Blue Jeans Network, a video communications company.  In a surprising finding, a majority of 400 managers and professionals surveyed, 71%, admit that the lack of face-to-face interaction has cost them business.

Psychologists could probably speak to this, but there's something that connects when people actually meet on a face-to-face basis. Perhaps it has something to do with better cementing a memory within one's brain, versus the more shallow impact of a disconnected voice over a device.

That's why live conferences and events will never, or should never, go away or be entirely replaced by virtual interactions. There's the failure to seal deals that may occur -- but there's also a sense of social isolation that may drag down one's productivity and job satisfaction as well.

Another surprising, and oh-so-true twist: nearly all respondents, 94%, say they have been at least somewhat surprised by someone's appearance after speaking on the phone. More than half, 60%, regularly misread tone or message via email or phone (60%).

Forty percent have mistaken someone’s gender before they’ve had a visual connection. Awkward...

The survey, sponsored by a video conferencing vendor, is slanted toward the advantages of video. Still, it's funny to see some of the things people admit they're guilty of during phone/audio meetings -- nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents admitted to ever having multitasked during conference calls. Many (72%) have talked to nearby colleagues while stuck on the phone. Sixty-nine percent say they have engaged in checking Facebook, tweeting or taking other calls. Six percent even admit to taking a nap.

— By on November 13, 2013, 7:50 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure