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Almost half of all Brits have joined a virtual meeting from the bathroom, new research finds

Jugo, the global leader in immersive virtual experiences, released survey data that unpacks British workers’ current virtual habits, including the worst behaviours during digital meetings, as well as the public’s thoughts on the do’s and don’ts of virtual etiquette. The findings come as we approach the 53rd anniversary of the world’s first commercial video call on July 1, 1970, which paved the way for Jugo and other virtual meeting platforms’ video technologies.

The survey found that one third (33%) of Brits have lied about their location in a meeting, with 48% employing a virtual background to hide the evidence. Shockingly, over one in 10 Brits (14%) have taken a nap during a virtual meeting, while 8% have had sex.

Based on the survey’s findings, Jugo has created a free etiquette guide to help remote and hybrid workers avoid virtual meeting faux pas. Jugo Virtual Meeting Etiquette 101 is the golden standard for organisation leaders and HR executives as they align on company-wide protocols regarding virtual workplace etiquette.

“As we usher in a more digitalised world globally, we believe we need to understand and define the behaviours within a virtual space that convey politeness, respect and kindness towards others,” said Joseph Toma, CEO of Jugo. “Our free guide is the perfect antidote to the confusion and lack of knowledge that permeates the virtual world, defining new and appropriate standards for virtual interaction within hybrid and remote workplaces.

The Jugo platform’s AI audio and visual tools are designed to address the pitfalls that hinder employee engagement, such as lack of eye contact, speaker focus, noise removal, and room echo,” said Toma. “These powerful tools deliver an additional layer of engagement, replicating the experience and benefit of face-to-face interactions in the digital workplace.”

Jugo partnered with Elaine Swann, a leading authority in corporate and social etiquette, who shares tips and advice on etiquette, communication and relationships through her social media pages, to offer tactical tips that ensure virtual and hybrid employees understand and can implement appropriate behaviour.

“When the pandemic first hit, workers and companies were thrust into remote work and video conferencing without any real guidance or protocols. People shifted and moved based upon the correction of mishaps and embarrassing incidents,” said Swann. “Now that we are on the other side of the pandemic, it’s clear that video conferencing will remain a key part of the work environment. Businesses need to implement a clear set of standards and guidelines that benefit the workplace. The goal is to have the employees represent themselves and the company well. Companies can wisely provide the necessary tools and systems for them to do so.”

Virtual Meeting Etiquette 101

Remote and hybrid work is here to stay, with the majority (72%) of the general UK population spending their time in virtual meetings. According to the survey, 16% percent of UK workers report having up to 20 hours of virtual meetings per week. As these meetings increasingly become the norm, workers must be aware of the challenges.

A quarter (25%) of Brits report that either a lack of eye contact or being unable to tell who has the floor to speak are the main reasons why it’s difficult to pay attention in meetings. Meanwhile, 23% report being distracted by other participants.

But when it comes to what is considered the rudest behaviour, the worst offence is nose picking, according to 28% of respondents. The survey found that 26% of respondents would sooner sit on a call with someone who doesn’t mute themselves and has background noise, while 22% consider people who text throughout meetings rude.

Think sleeping is rude? Think again…

Although many respondents (47%) confirm virtual meetings are their preferred setup — citing increased productivity as the reason — there is evidence that focus is a struggle. Some behaviours reveal a dramatic lack of engagement during a meeting including:

66% have texted friends

23% have gone for a walk

18% have worked out

14% have slept

8% have had sex

Are trousers de rigueur?

The survey confirms that remote, virtual meetings are causing Brits to neglect their workday appearance. A third (31%) do not dress for success in the virtual world, with 23% of respondents wearing sweatpants and 5% wearing nothing below their shirt during a virtual meeting. Just over three in ten (31%) shave and shower, and nearly half (46%) don’t style their hair before a virtual meeting.

Shockingly, participants aren’t always conducting business in the ideal environment:

48% have taken a meeting while in the bathroom

25% have taken a meeting in the gym

18% have taken a meeting from the doctor’s office

A nation dominated by narcissistic tendencies

For those who do make efforts to look their best on calls, one third (31%) of Brits admit to using filters to make themselves look better in virtual meetings, with ‘touch up my appearance’ being the most popular (58%), followed by lip colourings (22%) and eyebrow fillers (20%). 23% of Brits report looking at themselves more in virtual meetings than they do at other participants.

Mum would be proud

However, despite some questionable activities, Brits also exhibit positive behaviours. An overwhelming majority (86%) confirm they are always or often on time and sit up straight and have good posture (72% ) on video calls. More than two-thirds (67%) report they never or only sometimes interrupt others.