VMs in PJs with TVs Blasting!

A new poll shows “a trending generational divide over what’s acceptable behavior in virtual business meetings.”

This might sound like a baby-boomer attitude, but I must ask, “What is the world coming to when any one of us in the meetings and hospitality industry considers it A-OK to show up for virtual meetings (VMs) in pajamas (PJs) – and our TVs blasting in the background. Although I am stretching a point here (or am I?), according to Oanu Dimitru of Morning Brew online news service (morningbrew.com), I’m not too far off course. It seems that with each passing generation – business behavior in and out of an office is getting increasingly relaxed, informal, and just a tad bit sloppy. As Dimitru reports:

The wide adoption of remote work environments that originated with the COVID-19 pandemic has normalized working from home for many workers. As such, virtual — rather than in-person — meetings have also become more prevalent across the U.S., adding more flexibility while subtracting clarity about what constitutes proper meeting conduct. What are Americans’ opinions on the kinds of behaviors that are acceptable during remote meetings? While clear majorities reject some behaviors, other meeting actions exist in a gray area. And there are big age divides: Americans 65 and older are less likely than younger adults to accept each of the 22 meeting behaviors polled about.

The poll Dimitru refers to here was taken by Yougov.com. The 2023 survey named 22 behaviors and asked various age groups what they considered acceptable behavior at a virtual business meeting. While I can’t print the whole study here, you can log onto morningbrew.com for the complete breakdown. 

What I will do is give you a taste of the top five behaviors and two of the various age groups queried, 30-44 year-olds versus anyone over 65 years of age. Or millennials vs. baby boomers:

1 TV on in the background: 64 % vs. 91% say it’s NOT ok 

(or flipflop that to read 36% say it’s ok vs. 9% that say it’s ok)

2 Vaping: 70% vs 91% say it’s NOT ok

(or flip flop that to read 30% say it’s ok vs 9% that say it’s ok)

3 Smoking: 75% vs. 82% say it’s NOT ok

(or flip flop that to read 25% say it’s ok vs. 18% that say it’s ok)

4 Alcoholic Drink: 70% vs. 84% say it’s NOT ok

(or flip flop that to read 30% say it’s ok vs. 16% that say it’s ok)

5 Music in the Background: 69% vs. 74% say it’s NOT ok

(or flip flop that to read 31% say it’s ok vs. 26% that say it’s okay)

As for the jammies, it’s 56% vs. 79% of the two groups that say it’s NOT okay (or 41% versus 21% that say yeah, it’s cool).

Whatever you conclude from these stats, the point is that such actions are TRENDING towards a very informal, inappropriate, and lackadaisical business lifestyle as the workforce becomes remote and incorporates a younger generation into its ranks. The question then is how that will translate into quality of job performance in and out of the office, especially at virtual meetings.

The conclusion is that the younger the attendee, the more relaxed, casual, and even sloppy the attendance, and, one day, that will become the norm and acceptable. That’s what is trending right now! Am I guilty of such behaviors? No, yes, maybe, sometimes.

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