Work-at-Home Parents Can Learn from These 5 Audioconference Fails


Companies are leveraging technology. The proof is the more than 100 percent increase that remote work enjoyed in 2005. For individuals who have child-care duties or look after a sick family member, the arrangement is indeed welcome. 

Generally speaking, remote workers exclude business owners, freelancers, or entrepreneurs, thus the distinction between “work from home” and “work at home.” Nevertheless, a self-employed or telecommuting mom or dad like you still has the perks of parenting and earning without leaving the house.


For your part, you leverage the internet, computer, telephone, and smartphone to speak regularly with your clients, associates, and contractors. So far, you have a fairly good experience during these calls and conferences. Some parents, however, have hilarious stories to tell about theirs.

With kids around, you can expect anything to happen during an audioconference. Take a hint from this book of slipups, and learn from the mistakes of others. 

1. Leave the Door Unlocked, and See Who Visits

Most people have mental images of moms talking on the phone while chasing a toddler. But the reality is, WAHDs and WAHMs (work-at-home dads and moms, respectively) have their cozy corner or home office for calls and such.

Professor Robert Kelly was snugly seated in his room for a teleconference when his children gate-crashed. Props to him for completing the interview, but not without the distraction and instant fame. So always take a call behind a closed door, and be sure to lock it.

2.  Hear What Happens When You Don’t Use the Mute Button 

Background noise is the stuff of audioconferences, and the most awkward kind is heard and magnified. Many have stories to tell about this colleague who leaves a lawnmower on or lives with plenty of dogs and kids.

That’s the purpose of muting yourself before and after speaking. It can also save you further embarrassment when you use the toilet and everyone hears that distinctive flushing sound. 

3.  Skip Home, and the Call Can Be Different

There is an endless stream of household chores, and it can be tempting to do some errands while on a call or waiting for one. Surely, you can do it in the car and bribe the kids to stay quiet. However, many things beyond your control can happen and unravel the call. There’s the noise from the place and other people and the lack of any decent spot where you can talk and listen in peace. 

That is not to say that calling from home is always spotless; kids can raise a ruckus at the most opportune times during the conference. In this regard, position yourself in the quietest spot in the house with the strongest Wi-Fi signal too. 

4. Leave Children to Play

Kids have no rules; the house is their playground and your gadgets their toys. A mother came to realize this when her child played with her phone and inevitably dialed her editor’s number. The anecdote on Working Mother went on that the boss was amused at the baby’s babbling. That ended well, at least, but for your peace of mind, keep devices out of your children’s reach. 

5. Multitask, and Things Can Get Awkward

Parents are natural multitaskers. They can do everything and anything at once that they quickly fit the bill of superheroes. This mom was low-key nursing her baby on live TV. No one knew about it until a little hand appeared and entered the frame.

You can worry less about appearance when on an audioconference, but worry about the ambient sound. Kristen Bell was on a videoconference for a script reading and breastfeeding at the same time. As her face went out of the screen, a pumping sound was heard. 

These circumstances are funny and a stark reminder that being a parent is a 24-7 job. There’s always room for improvement and time to make or join calls without worries over interruptions or baby’s feeding time, perhaps. 

If you are seeing a couple of years of being homebound for work and the kids, you may as well equip your home office with proper business-communication tools. For example, set up a VoIP at home with an IP phone that can connect to your router.

Make sure your computer is fast and efficient in handling teleconferencing. Also, have a backup internet connection and power source.

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