Ever look through your screen at a video conference participant sitting behind a desk, and wonder whether he or she had anything on below the waist where the camera couldn't see? Some of the time, the answer was no.
This is just one of the surprising findings in a new survey of video conferencing behavior conducted by Zogby Analytics, on behalf of video conferencing provider Highfive. The survey shows video conferencing gaining traction, with 69 percent of working adult respondents said they'd been on at least one video call. But that doesn't mean we're comfortable with the medium. Only 35 percent said they like being on camera, while 39 percent actively dislike it, and 26 percent say they don't care or aren't sure.
The survey took a close look at how we behave when video conferencing. The results were revealing, and not always in a good way. Here are some of Zogby's more unexpected findings.
1. Some people take big liberties with the dress code.
While 67 percent of respondents say they try to dress professionally for a video conference, there are large exceptions. Eleven percent skip putting on pants at least some of the time. Another 11 percent don't bother putting on a nice shirt. And a third 11 percent don't bother making an effort at all and simply wear pajamas.
2. Most feel self-conscious on camera but Millennials love it.
Overall, 59 percent of survey respondents reported feeling more self-conscious on camera than they do face to face. Millennials are the opposite: 58 percent of 25-to-34-year olds say they feel more comfortable on camera than they do talking to someone in real life.
3. That 'broken camera' may be a fib.
Even Millennials don't relish all video conferences, and when they don't want to participate they know just how to get out of it. More than a quarter of Millennials say they have pretended a camera was malfunctioning in order to get out of a video conference (the most popular excuse used by people of every age).
4. People care more about how they look than what they say.
Nearly half the respondents--48 percent--admit they worry more about their appearance during a video conference than the actual content they're going to present. Not only that, more than a third admit that they spend more time preparing their appearance for the call (by rearranging the background, putting on makeup, fixing their hair and so on) than they do preparing content.
5. They're mostly worried about their hair.
Hair is the single biggest worry for most video conference participants, with 39 percent saying how their hair looks is a concern. But teeth, facial expression, bags under the eyes, and double chins were also causes for concern as well.
Disturbingly, more than a quarter of respondents say they have suffered from "resting bitch face"--or a complete lack of facial expression. Some reported that this lack of expression was interpreted as hostility or boredom by other video conference participants, and they now try to smile continuously as a result.
6. Whatever you do, don't sit too close to the camera.
Asked to name the most annoying behavior they'd experienced from others during a video conference, the number one choice was sitting too close to the camera, picked by 15 percent of survey respondents. They also disliked people eating or chewing gum during video conferences.
Avoid all three behaviors, and put on some pants. You'll already be one step ahead of the game.