More than 1 in 10 Admit To Sending Potentially NSFW Messages To Work Contacts

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We’ve all heard of – or much worse, experienced – that moment that you realise you’ve sent a personal message to a client or colleague by mistake. With the world of modern technology now moving at a faster pace than ever and many of us firing off work related messages day and night, the risk of sending something you didn’t intend to land in your work contact’s chat has never been greater.

Instant messaging has become many professionals’ primary method of communication, but with a quarter of people using their personal phones for business use, we’re all treading a thin line between an innocuous, accidentally shared meme, or worse, a gut-wrenchingly embarrassing private message.

With that in mind, I asked the YourBusinessNumber research team to investigate. Here’s what we found:

Our survey showed that more than one in 10 people have accidentally sent a personal message to a client or colleague, with many of these containing content that was NSFW.


Two thirds (66%) of respondents now use instant messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, to communicate with clients and colleagues.

A quarter of people use one device for both personal and business use, increasing their danger when it comes to accidental cross-contamination of their home and professional contacts.

Unsurprisingly, 14% of people admitted to our team that they had sent a personal message to a work contact, instead of the intended recipient – their partner, friend or family member. Of these, 68% said they sent the unintended message directly, with 32% going further and stating that their message was shared on a group chat – potentially with more than one client or colleague having viewed it. Luckily, a third were able to delete their mishap before anyone had seen it.

What sort of things did people share? Thankfully, most people only sent a general conversational message, which may not have made sense to the reader, but was likely to only cause confusion.

The second most common share was less endearing – a generally rude or insulting message. Not ideal in front of clients or colleagues.

Neon sign reads show me yours, I'll show you mine

And now for the worst offenders…

Our team uncovered that other messaging blunders included sexts, memes, personally insulting or rude messages sent straight to the person that they were written about, and – you guessed it – X-rated photos of the respondents or another person.

I think we can all agree that we’d rather avoid these sorts of (potentially costly) mistakes – which is why we wanted to provide a solution to help people keep their work and personal messages separate. Discover more about YourBusinessNumber and generate your new virtual number now.


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