Three-quarters of people admit to turning off their webcam to hide what they’re doing


An owl camouflaged against a tree as a metaphor for hiding during webcam meetingsA new poll from Showpad claims that three quarters of ‘office workers’ in the UK (76%) admit to turning off their webcam during video calls to hide what they are doing. The figure for workers under 24 is 85%. According to the State of Selling study, focusing on video calls while working from home appears to be one of the top pain points, with 80% saying they are more easily distracted in virtual meetings than in the world. real, with more than half (52%) saying they have an attention span of less than half an hour in virtual meetings.

Many find it difficult not to be distracted by technology or food and drink. More than half (57%) admit to turning off their screens so they can play on their phone, with 43% specifically highlighting “watching social media”. Meanwhile, 48% admit to leaving the room to prepare food or have a drink.

However, others are certainly pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. More than one in seven (15%) admit to having smoked or vaped in business meetings. In addition, nearly one in eight (12%) say they have slept during a work meeting and 7% admit to having consumed alcohol in secret during virtual meetings.

In some cases, problems arise because workers doesn’t press mute button or blank screen. One in five (19%) admit they forgot they were on camera and did something embarrassing, while 16% say they forgot to mute the sound and said something insulting or annoying about someone else during the call.

What are the consequences?

The report asserts that all of this has real consequences, both personally and for the company. One in 25 office workers (4%) say they have even lost their job following an incident during a video call.

It also appears to be driving down standards in the office – three-quarters (74%) believe etiquette at in-person meetings has deteriorated due to the increase in video calling since the pandemic. The top ways people think in-person meetings have been impacted are:

  • Employees check their phones more frequently during meetings (51%)
  • Staff not as well presented (47%)
  • Staff are less attentive (43%)
  • Presentation skills are weaker (33%)
  • Staff do not respect working hours (30%)
  • Staff are late for meetings (24%)
  • Staff simply leave meetings without apologizing (19%)

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