It’s no secret that video calls are becoming more common, as more people use video communication both in and out of work. However, there is not yet an agreed upon etiquette for video calls, and the unwritten rules and standards are constantly changing.
According to a survey by Harris Interactive (News - Alert), commissioned by Radvision, 40 percent of Americans use video calls or conferences, and 21 percent of businesses use it for meetings or to close a deal. It also uncovered differences in geographic locations – for example, those in Western or Southern United States are more likely to have used video calls than elsewhere. It also uncovered interesting ideas about video etiquette.
While 21 percent of those interviewed use video calling in order to speak with customers or clients, 16 percent also use them for interviews or for the opposite purpose: terminating one’s employment. (Which is less personal than seeing them in person to let them off, but at least more personal than a pink slip.)
When it comes to a dress code, over 20 percent of those interviewed choose to dress more casually for business-related video calls than they would for in-person meetings. Women are more likely than men to look good for the camera, while those who are married tend to dress more professionally than those who have never been.
While there are some places one would never think of having a video call, the bathroom is not always one of them. Ten percent of the adults surveyed don’t count the bathroom out as an acceptable location for a video call, while those under 35 are more likely to place calls from the bathroom than those older. Swimming pools aren’t out of the question either, with only 35 percent of people thinking that being on a video call while lying out by a pool is off limits.
“The growth of video calling is not surprising – many companies are looking for alternative cost-effective and efficient ways of doing business,” says Bob Romano (News - Alert), Radvision’s global VP of Marketing. “At the same time, younger entrants into the workforce are familiar with using video for more personal communication. As a result, video call etiquette is still evolving. Those businesses that are using video today to collaborate with customers, partners and employees are at a distinct advantage when it comes to video etiquette within the workplace. For those who are new adopters of the technology, companies like Avaya (News - Alert) offer the tools to help address video etiquette concerns.”
The survey reveals some interesting opinions about video conferencing, but as there are no exact protocols for it yet, they can and will continue to change. Personally, I would not even consider making a video call from the bathroom, nor make a video call while lounging outside a pool, but I don’t feel the need to put on a suit just to make a video call. However, people can and will disagree with my position, and I think it’s best to make sure everyone feels respected and comfortable in these calls, as much as one would in person.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman