The new, demanding etiquette for Zoom calls

It seems to be over: the notion that you can sit in a Zoom meeting with your unmade bed in the background, your dog on your lap, your cat on a shelf, and your children or spouse occasionally idling across the screen is no more. These days, people are less forgiving. Zoom meetings demand far more professionalism. 

So says the Wall Street Journal, which has assembled a list of rules for the new reality. They include the fact that you actually have to turn the camera on to be taken seriously, which is bad news for anyone who cut their hair during lockdown and has yet to remedy the outcome. If you don’t turn your camera on, it seems you’ll be known as a “lurker.”

You also need to close the door to prevent unwelcome interruptions (not that this has prevented children from penetrating Zoom sanctums in the past), to avoid eating, to resist the temptation to multitask, to arrive on time and to generally treat the Zoom event like a real life meeting where people will be unforgiving if you fail to adhere to the prescribed format, rather than indulgent because it’s a pandemic and your pet is endearing. 

Presumably this applies to banking too. In finance, some juniors have spent more time focusing on other Zoom meeting participant than themselves. “There have been a number of ostentatious displays of museum houses,” one Goldman trader tells us, while another remarks upon the prevalence of “rooms with glass walls to outside in the Hamptons,” which he says are, “not a good look for the underlings.” However, others say the backdrops been rather muted. “For the most part people’s rooms seem fairly modest,” says one compliance professional. “If anything people use the backgrounds provided by Zoom, like a waterfall or a bridge…” Even these are becoming no-nos.

Sarah Butcher –


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