Zoom attendees have all been in meetings where their kids were shouting or whose cameras only showed the chin and neck. These common Zoom faux pas are only the beginning of Zoom etiquette mistakes. Recent research revealed some shocking Zoom behaviors. Witnesses also shared their hilarious Zoom mistakes. You’ll both laugh and wince at the same time.
Common Zoom faux pas
Survey Data from the video conferencing platform Jugo reveals virtual meeting misbehaviors ranging from expected to shocking. Jugo and Propeller Methodology surveyed 1,000 employees and self-employed individuals about their virtual meeting habits. The results of the survey were not surprising.
50.9 percent of employees have trouble paying attention to virtual business meetings.
49.9 percent keep their lunches or snacks out of view during virtual meetings.
29.3 percent of employees believe that those who do not silence their voices in noisy environments are rudest.
During virtual meetings, 56.4 percent of employees in the United States and 66.4 percent of those in the United Kingdom look directly at their speaker.
These findings are logical. You can likely recall times when it was difficult to concentrate due to office distractions or the background noise of an obnoxious person. It’s also perfectly understandable to eat your lunch away from the camera during a busy day of meetings. Human interaction 101 is eye contact.
The Jugo survey also revealed the following jaw-dropping results:
Virtual meetings are being held in bathrooms by 38.4% of U.S. workers and 47.6% of U.K. staff.
Virtual calls have been a source of sexual activity for 13.2 percent of U.S. workers and 7.5 percent of U.K. staff.
This last one might surprise you. You can understand if you need to use the bathroom and must move your Zoom to that location. It’s not good, but it does happen. The idea of sex in the workplace, even if it’s virtual, is so obvious that you may do a double-take when seeing these numbers. Several activities are off-camera or private. Zoom stories indicate that not all agree.
Jugo found that despite virtual meetings’ challenges, 46.4 percent of Americans prefer these meetings to other types because they increase productivity.
4 Zoom etiquette fails
We asked professionals to tell us about bizarre behavior they have seen or heard in virtual meetings. We asked professionals to tell us their stories of abnormal behaviors they’ve seen or heard during virtual meetings.
The meeting crotch photo
It can cause pressure to build in your legs if you sit still during a virtual meeting. This can cause classic back pain, which is not pleasant. Brian Paget is the CEO and founder of MeetMoji. He saw someone in a Zoom Meeting address this issue.
Paget began his story by explaining that “outside board members were often selected for their corporate experience and are typically… experienced corporate communicators, but in an era before cameras and Zoom meetings,” “One of our members was suffering from back pain and would often stand up after sitting in a meeting for 30 minutes and move his hips into the Zoom camera. He did this to stretch his back, not realizing he had created a hilarious text among colleagues.
It’s easy to see that the solution is not to force a video culture. This board member could have turned off his camera, stretched, and turned it back on. He could have turned off his camera, tried, and then returned to the meeting, but instead, he took a crotch picture of everyone on the board. This became a meme for dozens of employees.
The manager who got into trouble
Paget shared another story, also about memes, that involved a manager who had presumably good intentions but whose actions made him a source of entertainment for the entire team.
Paget said that “some people overshare in Zoom meetings.” He named “individual co-workers who would make it a practice always to take Zoom calls at awkward places.” One man thought it would be best to motivate his team by holding a meeting on his elliptical while he was exercising from what appeared to be a screened-in porch. He instead inspired endless office memes.”
This is the lesson: Virtual meetings are no different from traditional office settings. If you don’t hold a meeting when doing a certain activity, then it goes without saying that virtual arrangements are not appropriate. There is a right time and place for certain things, and it does not always work.
Be alert to conference call etiquette violations, whether you are on the phone or using video. Do not speak over other people, look the wrong way, or speak with the mute button on.
The chef who did not know he was in front of an audience
It cannot be easy to find the time for basic tasks like cooking when you are spending too much time on projects and working overtime. Multitasking is a good idea. Not just eating while you’re in virtual meetings but also cooking. This is not a good idea. You’ll be bouncing back and forth, giving each task your full attention and then not paying any. It’s even worse if you’re doing it on camera.
“As CEO of a digital media startup that focuses on remote work, I have logged countless Zoom hours and witnessed some incredible behaviors that have left me both amused and perplexed at times,” said Maurizio Pétrone, the founder and CEO of Win Big. On one occasion, an employee was unaware that he had his camera set up while taking the meeting from the kitchen. He offered us all a master class on cooking in the middle of project discussions!
This story may not be the most hilarious or shocking for those who weren’t present, but it raises an important issue. Even the most banal of activities can make someone look bad during virtual meetings. This can be distracting to the rest of your team and make for good office gossip. There are other ways to get everyone together that are less embarrassing.
The interviewer drove in the wrong direction when recording a business.
Virtual calls in the workplace can be used for more than just meetings. You can also record interviews using virtual calls if you produce a podcast for income. It is easier to arrange in-person interviews this way, and you have a wider pool of experts available for interviews. It’s still not an excuse for using virtual meeting technology in dangerous ways.
Lauren Sergy is a trainer, consultant, speaker, and author on videoconferencing and virtual communication skills. She shared that in 2021, she gave a lot of podcast interviews about virtual meeting etiquette. In one of these interviews, the vlogger tried to record it as he drove down an interstate highway. They said: “I like to keep things real, and this is the closest thing you can get to real life.” ‘”
Sergy’s comments best describe why this shocking moment is problematic for reasons other than its boldness. Sergy explained that this was not just an excuse for their poor scheduling. It was dangerous.
Sergy revealed the shocking truth: “I ended the call and told them that we would record the interview once they returned to their office safely.” They never rescheduled their interview.