The Lack of Video Call Etiquette

What happened to reading the newspaper on the toilet?

These days it seems people just cannot even pause electronic communications while they are in the bathroom.

It’s sad we even need to talk about this, but unfortunately….we do.

According to a 2012 survey about video call etiquette, holding a work-related video call from the bathroom was considered OK by 13 percent of American adults.


From the bathroom? I wouldn’t even make a phone call, let alone a video call.

Apparently I am not alone in my frustration. According to a recent global etiquette survey sponsored by Intel, over 90 percent of adults said they wished others practiced better digital and video call etiquette in public.

Top Four Video Call Etiquette Taboos

Of all the impolite or even rude behaviors one can do during video calls, here are the top five “no nos.”

Dressing Unprofessionally

Pajamas aren’t the appropriate dress code for a video call, even if you’re at home.

According to a study from, 17 percent of employees have seen someone dressed inappropriately during a video call, and 20 percent have admitted to wearing pajama pants. Try to keep your attire professional and conservative, even if you have to change right before the call.

Using The Camera as a Mirror

Whatever you do, video call etiquette instructs you not use the video camera to fix your makeup or hair. You’ll only make the person on the other end uncomfortable. Check your appearance before you get on the call.

Not Being Focused on the Call

Just as it would be if you spoke to someone face-to-face in his or her presence, it is polite to provide your undivided attention. Just because you are in a potentially distant location on a video call, multi-tasking—browsing internet, checking emails, talking to someone on the side—is always noticed and always in poor taste.

Inappropriate Location

Even if you have the most comfortable mattress in the world, video call etiquette demands that you get out of the bedroom and go to a quiet, “neutral” setting, like your study or living room. No one needs to see where you sleep. And let’s not forget the bathroom as an inappropriate location. 24 percent of Americans voted this as the worst thing someone could do on-screen, and 6 percent have actually witnessed it happen. There’s no compelling reason why you should ever take a call in the bathroom. If you run into an “emergency,” excuse yourself politely—and don’t conduct business while you’re doing your business.

This is both a heartening and a disheartening post depending upon your perspective. In one respect, it is a shame that this content even needs to discussed. But on the other hand, perhaps a percent of two of the 13 percent of American adults who were ok with conducting work-related video calls in the bathroom in the 2012 survey, had a change of heart and joined the 24 percent who voted this the worst thing someone could do on screen.

image credit: Shutterstock

Amy Bailey (103 Blog Posts)

Amy Bailey is the VP of Marketing at VXSuite has been with the product line for over eight years. Over the years she has filled may roles including Sales Manager and Project Manager. She is a graduate of San Diego State University with BA's in Speech Communication and Liberal Arts. Amy was Associated Students' President while at SDSU and has several years of sales and management experience in the high-end retail clothing industry. She enjoys knitting, country music and spending time with family.