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Zoom Etiquette - You're Fired!

Zoom etiquette - could your actions get you fired? In the simplest of terms, yes.

It’s a question of conduct and unless previously agreed that a remote worker will be held to different standards of working, employers should treat all staff working from home as though they were in their main office setting.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in January 2020. National lockdown was announced by March of that year and many employees were propelled into the world of remote working as organisations adapted to survive.

Zoom, Teams and Slack saw recorded spikes in users as schools and businesses experimented with videoconferencing.

The sudden transition to remote working was stressful for many as employees felt anxious about childcare, their health, friends and family. Household distractions were both awkward and entertaining as children and pets made appearances on camera during meetings and lawyers as cats and vicars wearing hats went viral.

While accidents happen, employment experts argue an employer's specific policy on conduct while at work should be applied to those working from home temporarily as a result of the pandemic.

Andrew Willis, head of legal at the employment law, HR and health and safety firm Croner, references cases such as that of Jeffrey Toobin’s explicit Zoom call to be an extreme example of misconduct but suggests all organisations acknowledge unprofessional behaviour such as this can occur during work video calls and it needs preparing for.

Taking incidents on a case by case basis, mindful to not to give a harsher response than necessary to minor cases of misconduct from voice or video calls, is the sensible, fair and balanced approach.

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