Workers bothered by inflexible software update schedules have used this as an excuse to skip meetings and calls, one report finds.

Some workers find frequent meetings to be one of the most unpleasant things in the office routine. The shift to hybrid work or remote work has not always improved things. Some people have experienced ‘zoom fatigue’ and felt more tired at the end of the working day than before the pandemic.

One trend that was discovered inadvertently in a global survey of phone software updating habits was that workers have found an excuse to skip some of their work calls: they pretended that their work devices were unavailable due to updates.

In April 2021, Kaspersky commissioned an online survey of 15,000 respondents to explore people’s device update tendencies. The sample included 1,000 respondents from each of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain; and 500 from each of the USA, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Romania, the UAE, Turkey, South Africa, China, India, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Russia.

All respondents used a PC, smartphone and/or tablet for either their personal or work lives, and 76% of the respondents were currently employed.

Device updates as an excuse

Some 21% of respondents indicated that they have ever pretended their devices were installing updates so they would not have to attend a (virtual meeting) or conference call.

According to the cybersecurity firm, this excuse is plausible because 35% of respondents indicated some updates have ever caused them to be late to a call, according to findings of another recent study by Kaspersky to explore workers’ attitudes and habits toward updates. 

Other colleagues may believe the deception, as they could relate to the experience of needing to update a device themselves. In addition to missed appointments, 37% of respondents had indicated that they had lost part of their unsaved work or data when their PC or laptop restarted after installing updates.

All in all, some employees see this device downtime as an opportunity to procrastinate, with 27% of respondents admitting that they had ever installed updates to deliberately waste time at work. Nevertheless, employees mostly do not like it when their work is interrupted, so 65% wished updates happened outside of work hours to maintain their productivity.

According to the firm’s IT Service and Asset Group Manager, Egor Kharchenko: “Typically, updates are downloaded during working hours in silent mode and do not affect a business. However, to apply them to the system, a restart is required. Of course, some business matters can’t be postponed, so usually a user can restart within a certain timeframe. As we can see, some people either miss such notifications or do not want to do this. Therefore, the required restart may happen at the most inconvenient moment: right before an important call or when they are writing a long email!”