Communications

What's Acceptable Video Calling Etiquette?

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September 14, 2012 3:58PM

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The survey found that, among those employed full- or part-time, 21 percent have used video calling for business with a customer or client, 16 percent have used video calling for a job interview or employment termination, and over 20 percent are fine with dressing more casually for a work-related video call than for an in-person meeting.

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If you're in the bathroom and a video call comes through on your smartphone, is that location off-limits? Not necessarily, say 13 percent of respondents in a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for Radvision, is an attempt to lay down some markers about exactly what are the boundaries of acceptable behavior in the long-envisioned but only recently implemented trend of video calling.

Of course, as one would expect, there's a big difference between acceptable etiquette for personal versus business video calls.

Demographic Factors

Not surprisingly, age plays a part in the evolving etiquette. The study found that those age 35 and older were more likely to feel that a bathroom is off-limits at any time, than were their younger counterparts.

But gender can also be a factor. Women are more likely than men to dress in business attire for work-related video calls. Single or never-married Americans are more likely to dress casually for a video call or conference than they would otherwise do for an in-person meeting.

The survey indicated that where you live in the U.S. can affect how likely you are to have employed video calling. For instance, those who live in the southern or western U.S. are more likely to have participated in video calls than those in other parts of the country. The study does not indicate why, although it could be related to a wider geographical spread between population centers in those regions and, therefore, a lesser propensity for local traveling.

Bob Romano, global vice president of marketing for Radvision, suggests that the growth of video calling is not surprising, since "many companies are looking for alternative cost-effective and efficient ways of doing business." The generational difference is yet another consequence of the "bring your own device" movement in which, Romano noted, "younger entrants into the workforce are familiar with using video for more personal communication."

Home Versus Office

The survey also found that, among those employed full- or part-time, 21 percent have used video calling for business with a customer or client, 16 percent have used this type of communication for a job interview or employment termination, and over 20 percent are fine with dressing more casually for a work-related video call than for an in-person meeting.

Brad Shimmin, an analyst who covers social forms of communication for industry research firm Current Analysis, said that other variables besides location, age, and gender could be added to the mix. These include whether everyone on a video call is in an informal setting at their location, such as a home, or everyone is in an office, or some combination.

As users increasingly work outside the enterprise, he pointed out, "the set of behaviors common in corporate environments may not be applicable." Shimmin noted that these are variables we've never had to deal with for voice-only calls.

The online survey, conducted in July, queried 2,207 adults aged 18 and older. Survey-sponsor Radvision is owned by business-communications solution-provider Avaya. Radvision produces video conferencing equipment and telepresence technologies that operate over IP and wireless networks, including the Scopia video conferencing platform, pictured in use, above.

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