A little over 7 months ago barely any of us had heard of Zoom, but since the pandemic its users have jumped from 10 million to 300 million at its peak. Yet with Zoom calls becoming part of our everyday workplace routine, you may be surprised at the habits that many Brits have adopted. A survey of 1000 people working from home due to COVID-19 and commissioned by Eskenzi PR, a global tech PR agency, has found that workplace etiquette is becoming more lax, with almost half of those surveyed saying that colleagues have turned up late to virtual meetings and over half have been interrupted by colleagues on calls. The survey also found that 47% of people felt that their colleagues were distracted on video calls, with 91% of Brits admitting that they look at themselves or have seen someone else look at themselves while on work calls! It seems that there is a lot more happening behind the camera than you might think…

The survey reveals some on the concerning habits Brits have displayed on Zooms calls:

  • 91% admit they’ve been distracted by their own image on screen and can’t help looking at themselves.
  • 85% have slyly worked on emails or have seen others who have.
    • Millennials were the highest generation slyly emailing.
  • 77% are sneakily texting.
    • More females reported doing this (81%) than males (70%) .
  • 66% have munched their way through a Zoom meeting.
    • 88% of Gen Z’s have reported eating on a call.
  • 18% have enjoyed an alcoholic drink.
    • 25% of males reported drinking alcohol over 14% of women.
  • 17% have smoked or vaped.
    • More men (20%) than women (15%) are smoking on calls.
  • 12% have picked their spots and 11% have picked their teeth on video calls.
    • 16% of Gen Z’s reported doing this, the highest amongst all generations.

As the work environment has changed and Zoom has become our lifeline for communicating with colleagues, many of us are grappling with Zoom fatigue. Clearly these numbers are showing that instead of concentrating during a work call, employees are distracted, finding it hard to remain engaged and harming their productivity. In fact, only 27% of Brits working from home claimed they were productive, the Eskenzi PR survey found.

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But it’s not all doom and gloom. Over 40% of respondents stated that they have got to know their colleagues better in this new work environment, helping to improve colleague relationships.

Yvonne Eskenzi, Director and Founder of Eskenzi PR says “Our survey has shown that people tend to let their guard down during Zoom meetings at home, which can be detrimental to their careers as they are still being judged on these calls. Many have seen colleagues turn up late, speak over others, drink, eat and even smoke on calls.  There is a certain etiquette to Zoom calls, which would be sensible to follow if you’re hoping for a promotion or want to be looked at favourably by your colleagues and superiors.”

If you want to brush up on your own public relations, then here are some tips from Eskenzi PR on Zoom etiquette in the workplace that could just get you that pay rise you’re looking for:

  1. Take calls in a quiet place, or use a headset to block out background noise.
  2. Check your microphone and camera works properly before starting a call, and be aware of their settings while on a call.
  3. Ensure you have a clear, work-appropriate background, with any unprofessional items tidied away.
  4. Limit distractions by turning off other devices and notification before calls. Maybe write a call agenda so you stay on track.
  5. Make sure you look presentable. Treat it like a normal face-to-face meeting – dress to impress or use the Zoom ‘Touchup My Appearance’ feature.
  6. Look at the camera when talking – you need to be engaged and engaging!
  7. Do not eat, drink or text during calls. You wouldn’t do this in a physical meeting.
  8. Do not be late for your calls – try to join calls early, especially if you’re the host.
  9. Try not to do other work tasks while on video calls, like answering emails, as people will notice.
  10. Do not get distracted by your own image, start flicking your hair, picking your teeth or spots which is what the Eskenzi PR survey has found people have done!
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