Video call etiquette – what we should & shouldn’t be doing

woman presenting on a video call, webinar

With most people across the UK currently working from home, the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams are being used on a daily basis.

According to a report by Ofcom, there has been a 2000 per cent surge in new users for the video conferencing software Zoom alone throughout lockdown.

However, there are many things that grind someone’s gears on a video call, and we spoke to a few office workers and business owners to find out what their pet peeves are when it comes to video calling.

Gemma Banks, HR Business Partner at Connect Assist says that her pet peeve is watching employees do other things on their screen while they’re on a call.

“Some people may think that nobody will notice them cracking on with other bits of work, but it’s very obvious when someone is fidgeting. Their eyes are moving around the screen and you can see their shoulders moving while they’re typing.

“You wouldn’t check your phone or fire off emails if you were meeting in person, so make sure you’re treating a virtual meeting with the same courtesy as if you were face to face.”

Scott Jones, Manging Director of Illustrate Digital, has given some good advice on how not to mix your personal life with your business life.

“People need to ensure all of the tabs that they’re not intending to share on screen are closed beforehand, whether that be personal or work-related. Having personal documents open will look really unprofessional but having companywide documents and emails open will be a breach of GDPR, especially if it’s an email with personal information on from perhaps another client.”

Everyone working from home tends to dress down more than if they were going to the office. Whether this is wearing joggers over smart trousers, not wearing as much make-up as they would normally or even wearing hoodies and fleeces for client meetings.

Pure Commercial Finance’s Office Manager, Jade Thomas, has addressed that even though you’re on a video call, it doesn’t mean you can dress like a complete slob. She says:

“We’re all guilty of this; wearing joggers and hoodies during our working day instead of our normal work clothes. Thankfully, everyone is pretty much in the same boat, so nobody expects employees to be in a three-piece suit, but it’s still appropriate that you give off a good impression to those that you video with by wearing clean, ironed clothes rather than crumpled up t-shirts with food stains.”

Don’t forget, when you’re on a conferencing call, you are seen by everyone else on there too and you won’t be able to tell if someone is staring directly at you, so someone could be watching should you steal a quick snack.

Crispin Boden-Tebbutt, SEO and Content Specialist at Liberty Marketing, says:

“I hate it when people are eating on a video call. I don’t think people realise how sensitive microphones are, so when someone is sitting there rustling a packet of crisps or munching on a sausage roll, the whole call can hear it and it can be quite disruptive.

“Don’t get me wrong, we all love a snack, but you wouldn’t normally walk into an external meeting with a load of food, so I don’t think it’s appropriate to do it on a video call either.”

Those that are currently working from home have no choice bar video conferencing software rather than face-to-face meetings. This is new to mostly everyone in the UK and something that employees are still getting used to.

If you’re worried about how to dress or whether it’s ok to eat some lunch while on a call, the best thing to do would be to check with your manager beforehand.

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