Most workers are familiar with traditional office etiquette standards, such as cleaning up your dirty dishes, not eating a co-worker’s lunch, and never, ever, microwaving fish in the break room. However, now that many employees can work from just about anywhere, it brings up a lot of etiquette questions. Is it okay to eat your lunch while you’re on a Zoom meeting? How about multitasking during a video conference or logging in from your favorite coffee shop?
If you’re wondering how office etiquette translates into a hybrid workplace, you’re not alone.
At ezCater, we recently surveyed 1,000 workers in our 2023 Lunch Report to learn how they eat lunch. In the process, we learned that people have different perspectives when it comes to workplace etiquette in a hybrid environment. Here are some key hybrid workplace etiquette insights we uncovered.
Hybrid workplace etiquette for digital interactions
Whether employees are joining video meetings from their home office, their local Starbucks, or in a corporate setting, everyone should stick to the same standards. This ensures efficiency and productivity while also creating a virtual environment where everyone feels equally involved and respected, regardless of their location. Here are a few key Zoom etiquette guidelines.
Be fully present and engaged
Let’s talk Zoom. When on a video call, give the meeting your full attention. Though it may be tempting to cuddle with your dog or fold your laundry while you’re listening, multi-tasking is a no-no. Keep your camera on whenever possible so you can always be the star of the show. If you need to step away or attend to something pressing, politely communicate this to the group. Consider using the chat feature to avoid disrupting the conversation.
Put extra effort into self-presentation
No matter where you’re working from, your presentation speaks volumes. Remote participants should maintain the same professional standards as their in-office colleagues. If you’re wondering whether you really need to wear pants during a Zoom call, the answer is yes! Always dress appropriately, manage your backdrop, and ensure you’re positioned in good lighting. Your cat may not care, but your colleagues do.
Avoid eating on camera
While some video calls are meant to be a working lunch, in most cases, eating on camera is a distraction. According to ezCater’s 2023 Lunch Report, 83% of people feel that eating on an external video call is bad etiquette, and 73% feel the same about internal video calls. Whenever possible, plan to eat your meals before or after your on-camera interactions to avoid unnecessary distractions. Your fellow Zoomers will thank you.
When employees are only working on-site part-time, it’s easy to let inappropriate etiquette slip through the cracks. From the “just rolled out of bed” look to treating the office like it’s your home, seemingly small oversights can accumulate over time. Whether employees are dressing too casually, neglecting hygiene, or distracting other workers, these types of behaviors will negatively impact the overall professionalism and efficiency of the office environment.
Be a good neighbor
When working onsite, greet co-workers and engage in a bit of friendly conversation. Don’t forget that other people are working in the space nearby. No one wants to hear your speakerphone serenades or loud ringtones — save that for your at-home days.
Virtual meetings in the office? Book a room or plug in those headphones. Not only will having a quiet, private environment benefit those working nearby, but it will also contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of the hybrid meeting.
Maintain personal and workplace hygiene
Every employee should take pride in their appearance and their environment, regardless of their location. In-office workers should maintain a level of personal cleanliness that respects shared spaces. This means being mindful of personal grooming and ensuring your workspace is tidy and organized.
Eating etiquette in a hybrid environment
Eating etiquette in a hybrid environment requires a delicate balance. Your employees need food — it’s essential to maintain productivity and recharge — but they also need to eat in a way that doesn’t bother others. The following tips can help workers adapt their eating habits.
Many employers find great success in scheduling company lunch meetings with complementary food on a designated day each week. Not only is this a welcomed perk, but it can also encourage hybrid employees to come into the office and interact with their on-site co-workers.
While lunch meetings are a chance to refuel, they’re also perfect for sparking those “aha!’ moments that come from good conversation and great food. If midday breaks are difficult to arrange, consider kicking off the workday with a fun and productive breakfast sales meeting instead.
Lunch break blocks
We all know how easy it is for “just five more minutes” of work to turn into missing lunch entirely. Encouraging employees to reserve 30 to 60 minutes in their calendars for a lunch break can significantly enhance the workday experience. This simple practice reminds them to take a much-deserved break and can deter them from scheduling meetings and other tasks during lunch hours.
Not only does this help create healthier eating habits and work-life balance, but it also shows that your company is committed to employee well-being. Blocking off time for lunch encourages teams to step away from their workstations, whether at home or in the office, so everyone has the opportunity to refuel and decompress.
Making the most of working lunches
Working lunches can sometimes be the secret sauce to a productive day. Whether you’re planning an employee meeting or inviting a client to lunch with a few key employees, mealtime meetings can help foster deeper connections. However, before putting employees in front of clients or potential clients, you’ll want to make sure they’re familiar with client lunch meeting etiquette and standard table manners. This will help you avoid potentially embarrassing situations.
Lunch and learn meetings
Lunch and learn meetings are an excellent way to provide an enjoyable mid-day break while educating your employees. To keep it from feeling too much like work, mix up serious topics with lighthearted banter — because who said learning can’t be fun?
Not only can lunch and learns serve as a platform for professional development, but they also foster team bonding and creativity. This blend of learning and leisure helps create a more relaxed and open atmosphere, encouraging employees to share ideas and insights while enjoying their lunch.
Embracing the new rules of hybrid workplace etiquette
Blending in-person and remote workspaces requires a thoughtful approach. But, with a sprinkle of courtesy and a dash of lunchtime joy, you’ve got yourself a friendly, productive, and downright awesome workplace.
Encouraging breaks during the workday and providing food as an office perk can improve employee satisfaction and help avoid burnout. ezCater’s 2023 Lunch Report provides insights into the new social norms around work-lunch etiquette and offers tips for adapting to the evolving modern workplace. Download your free copy now to get the inside scoop.