What behaviors do Americans say are acceptable in virtual meetings?

Oana DumitruContributor
February 05, 2024, 8:28 PM GMT+0

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.

According to a 2023 YouGov survey, 32% of Americans participate in virtual meetings for work and 37% do so for personal calls. Majorities of Americans deem some behaviors unacceptable in any kind of virtual meeting, including having music or a TV playing in the background, smoking or vaping, and eating a meal. American opinion is more divided for behaviors such as eating a snack or sitting on a sofa, with larger shares saying it is acceptable to do these in informal meetings or in all meetings.

Opinions on which behaviors are unacceptable in any meeting vary by age: Americans 65 and older are more likely than younger adults to say that each behavior polled is not acceptable in any virtual meeting.


— Taylor Orth and Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: The poll was conducted among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens from August 29 - September 12, 2023. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

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