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The Do’s and Do Not’s of Business Etiquette in the Virtual World

Updated: Sep 12, 2023



By: Eric Peters, President of the Professional Division


It’s almost been a year since most BGSF offices transitioned to remote amid the Coronavirus pandemic…yes, a full YEAR! Feels like ten, doesn’t it? We’ve taken a moment to reflect on how this year has not only impacted us, but our candidates, and clients as well. Of course, we’ve all shifted to heavily rely on technology and video for our daily work lives. Ah, don’t you miss the days when a computer was a feature and not a necessary fixture?


How Has This Impacted the Industry?


Our Clients:


Video killed the work/life balance! A necessary evil, but clients now must rely on video for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retaining talent. As well, there need to be meetings on strategy, initiatives, project management, and overall engagement. Topics easily discussed in passing in an office setting. The virtual work environment also brings new challenges to the work/life balance and allows for “relaxed” business etiquette to creep in.


Our Candidates:


This new virtual world has made it difficult for consultants to network and discover new opportunities. It also limits their ability to see the true work environment/culture of a company and makes mannerisms challenging to view on the candidate/hiring side.


The Importance of Video Etiquette


Dogs, kids, and messes! Oh MY! In this new age of WFH, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain professionalism which can sometimes have disadvantages when talking to potential, and current clients and candidates. Here are some easy tips and tricks to keep that work and life boundary up and running:


Do’s

  • Mute your microphone when necessary

    • If you remain unmuted, your everyday noises may be completely disruptive to those speaking. We’re talking shuffling of clothing, clearing of the throat, dogs barking, etc. Your mic picks up a lot more than you think!

  • Wear meeting appropriate clothes

  • Keep your surroundings suitable and clean

  • Try looking at the camera, to simulate ‘eye contact’

  • Stabilize your device – shaky camera movements will take the focus

  • Select a professional background or picture


Do Not’s

  • Don’t position your camera too low, or too high

  • Don’t try to multitask during meetings, stay focused.

  • Don’t sneak out!

  • Don’t mumble, but don’t shout

  • Don’t interrupt others


Set Your Space Up for Success


Impressions are everything! Especially the first ones. Working from home presents unique challenges and culture shock.  A topic which we covered in Elaine Priesman’s Feature Friday blog.


Equipment and Lighting


  • Make sure your internet connection, camera, and microphone are all set up and functioning properly. Try to troubleshoot before any meetings.

  • Frame your face! Set your camera as close to eye-level as possible

    • Assess your lighting: Make use of natural light and overhead lighting.

    • Backlighting can cause shadows and make it difficult for others to see you.

    • Check your camera angle prior to meetings to catch any up-the-nose situations or the most dreaded: double-chin angles

  • Connect your computer to your ethernet cable so you can have the best internet connection possible. If you cannot be hard-wired, make sure you have adequate bandwidth on your WiFi network.

  • If you must use your WiFi network, forewarn those living with you that you will need the bandwidth for a certain amount of time, so they can limit their use.


Privacy and Background


  • If you cannot find a private space, use headphones to reduce background noise.

  • If you have others in your home that are working from home or virtual learning, let them know you’ll be on a call to reduce interruptions.

  • Clean up your background!

    • Tip: Too messy, and too little time? Try using a blurred or virtual background.

    • Tempting though it may be to use the fun backgrounds, try to choose less distracting ones

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