Videoconferencing shows lack of clothing during video calls is more common than you think

With the rise of video platforms like Zoom, a new report shows that our behavior in front of the camera could seriously undermine corporate cultures for the long term.

When the world went into lockdown in early 2020, one of the main concerns for organizations was how indefinite work-from-home conditions would affect business and employees.

It seems that with the rise of Zoom, everyone has video switched on during meetings, so it is inevitable that you are going to be seeing a lot more than you used to over video. A new report shows just how much people are seeing and behaving on these calls.

NY-based AI data operating startup Behavox released its Enterprise Conduct and Risk report. In the report, corporate professionals were asked about their experience working from home during COVID-19 and the effect it is having on stress levels and corporate misconduct.

SEE: Working from home: The future of business is remote (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Working from home: How to get remote right (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

It surveyed 3,000 respondents from the US, the UK, and Canada about their work-from-home experiences, which led to startling revelations that, if unchecked, seriously undermine corporate cultures and risk postures of enterprises across numerous industries.

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The report uncovers some interesting traits about what people are seeing and how people are behaving during videoconferences.

The percentage of outlandish, inappropriate, or disrespectful behavior witnessed taking place on video calls include:

  • Almost one in five (19%) of respondents claim to see inappropriate clothing during video meetings.
  • 9% see people with a lack of clothing: and 6% report seeing completely naked people.
  • One in 25 revealed they even saw naked or partially naked people walk by or in the background of video meetings.
  • Almost one in 10 (9%) report seeing offensive, racist, politically incorrect items in colleagues' homes.
  • Almost one in five (19%) reported seeing non-work people listening to meetings.
  • It is hard to believe but 16% reported seeing people on video calls drinking alcohol.
  • 14% reported seeing smoking or vaping
  • 2% reported seeing people doing illegal drugs.

Other forms of inappropriate behavior include the use of profanity (10%), bullying (8%), racism or racist slurs (7%), and sexual harassment 93%).

In the US, the practice of keeping lists that rate employees' physical appearances were reported by almost two in five (17%).

Working from home has also taken on darker implications of misbehavior, some of it criminal.

One in 10 (9%) Americans are "completely confident" colleagues are watching child pornography through work channels at their company, while one in 10 (11%) are "completely confident" pedophiles work at the company.

In the US, nearly one in three (29%) respondents are confident employees are watching adult pornography on work channels, while nearly one in three (30%) are completely confident racial slurs are being used in work communications, all higher on average than the global norm.

So, why is all of this happening? Most respondents cited the absence of management or colleagues watching or monitoring them.

The increase in relaxed attitudes in professional behavior has resulted in nearly half of respondents witnessing instances of inappropriate behavior during video conferencing meetings.

Globally, one in 10 has witnessed an angry outburst during a videoconferencing meeting, which nearly half of the time would result in termination.

Neil Wu Becker, chief marketing officer at Behavox, said: 

"With one in five employees looking for a new job, and half doing so because they are worried about job security, business continuity and revenue growth for organizations are certain to be affected at a time of macroeconomic recession."

Although indefinite WFH conditions pose significant emotional and productivity risks to employees, they also present serious security challenges to the integrity of enterprise data and business operations.

Enterprises need to be better equipped in quickly addressing this bad behavior. If they fail to do this there could be serious ramifications for their company.

Lawsuits, brand damage, trials by media, executive dismissals, employee churn, recruiting difficulties, customer concerns, and revenue disruption will not be good for the company's future.