40% of People Judge Their Co-Workers Based on the State of their Homes

Business Insights

New Study Suggests How You Present Yourself on Video Conferencing Apps Could Impact Your Career

According to a new nationwide survey commissioned by Eskenzi PR, 40% of the UK workforce judge their colleagues on how their house looks during video conferencing meetings. Since the Coronavirus pandemic took hold and working remotely became the new norm, we have witnessed a surge in the use of applications such as Zoom, Skype and Teams. As such, this study aimed to examine how video conferencing has changed workers’ perceptions of their colleagues.

Of the UK workers who admitted that the appearance of their colleagues’ houses influenced their opinions of them, 28% said that they now viewed their co-workers more favourably. However, there might be an incentive to do some home improvements, desk clearing or even room cleaning, as 12% of respondents said that the state of their co-workers’ houses had negatively impacted their opinion of them.

Furthermore, out of the thousand people surveyed, all of whom are currently working from home in the UK due to the COVID 19 pandemic, a quarter said that looking professional on video conferencing calls has made them view their co-workers in a better light. Perhaps counter-intuitively however, video conferencing has also made a quarter of respondents feel as though they know their colleagues better (25%).

Women seemed to be less interested with these factors than men, with 61% saying that they do not feel as though they know their colleagues better and neither view them more nor less favourably, compared to 50% of men. Indeed, women were less concerned with how their colleagues presented themselves professionally (10%), while 17% of men cited this as the reason, they view their co-workers less favourably. Overall, men were more likely to say that they view their co-workers in greater positive light thanks to video conferencing; with 30% stating that they now know their colleagues better, compared to just 20% of females surveyed.

Apart from differences by gender, there also appear to be disparities in remote working attitudes according to age. The results of the survey show that older generations are less concerned with what their co-workers’ houses look like compared to younger generations. Over 7 in 10 over 55 year olds surveyed claim that their opinion has not changed (73%), compared with 39% of 18-24-year olds and just over half of those aged between 25-32 (52%).

Regarding future workforce dynamics and the shift towards remote working, over 90% of people stated that they would prefer to work from home at least one day a week. However, the reasons for favouring this option varied significantly. The survey results show most people citing the amount of time wasted during daily commutes (54%), almost half (45%) considering their homes to be a more relaxing environment than the office, and a sizable 38% preferring to work from home so there is no need to dress up.

Of those who prefer to work from home due to being able to dress more comfortably, there was a large discrepancy between age groups. Remarkably, a substantial 43% of 18-24-year olds cited their ability to dress down as the main reason why they prefer remote working, compared to a lesser 35% of respondents who were 55 and older. Furthermore, the commute was more of an issue for the older cohort of survey respondents, with roughly 6 in 10 individuals citing this as the main reason for their preference to work from home, as opposed to 4 in 10 (41%) 18-24-year olds.

In 2017, the BBC ran the headline “Children interrupt BBC News interview”, when political scientist Robert Kelly’s children irrupted in the room where he was in a video conference in his home office. Today, such an event would be hardly newsworthy, as some 20 million Britons have shifted to remote work and have learnt how hard it is to keep pets off their keyboards and flatmates in pyjamas out of shot,”

said Yvonne Eskenzi, founder and owner of London-based Queen’s Award winning Tech PR agency Eskenzi PR.

“It seems these relatable incidents have made people see a more human side of their colleagues. Our survey, however, also highlighted how important it still is to curate the details, even as we all work out of our living rooms and bedrooms. Ultimately, the secret is striking a balance between professional and approachable. And for those of us that don’t want the hassle, there are always Zoom backgrounds!”