Companies are increasingly introducing rules of conduct for online business meetings and video calls. Software tools enable implementation in practice.

An Editorial of the FOM Magazine

Do you remember your first online professional meeting?

Was kind of funny, wasn't it?

Until the COVID pandemic, most of us only knew about online meetings from private conversations. The fact that we were suddenly supposed to talk to colleagues, customers and superiors via video call caused uncertainty.

But a lot has changed since then. Today, we meet regularly online. To create a framework for online business meetings, many companies have introduced rules of conduct and meeting labels.

A survey by ClickMeetings now examined how meeting behavior has changed since the pandemic began.

Rules of conduct for business meetings

Thirty percent of respondents said their companies now have clear rules in place about online meetings. The most common rules:

  • 29 percent cited general rules of conduct for online meetings,
  • 17 percent mentioned rules for conducting conversations,
  • 16 percent mentioned a ban on parallel use of smartphones and other devices to prevent multitasking .

The most frequently used rules of conduct relate to requests to speak. Meeting participants must therefore signal their desire to speak to the other participants, for example with a button or a physical hand signal.

Some companies have also established the way of greeting and saying goodbye. This avoids time-consuming small talk episodes at the beginning and end of the meeting.

Software for regulated business meetings

49 percent of respondents are in favor of introducing rules of conduct in business meetings.

The fact that employees and managers are paying more attention to their meeting culture is gratifying in principle. Rules of conduct can make meetings more efficient, but their implementation depends largely on the meeting participants.

The meeting agenda is a good example: many companies have a rule of "No meeting without an agenda." This makes perfect sense, but often meeting participants do not have the agenda available during the meeting. They may not have read through the agenda in advance either. They may not have received the agenda at all because their email address was not on the distribution list.

At the beginning of the meeting, attendees start by scouring their email inboxes looking for the agenda. This alone quickly wastes several minutes - and the meeting already starts off on the wrong foot.

With FOM software, this cannot happen: All meeting participants listed in the participant directory receive the agenda automatically in advance. During the meeting, the meeting leader can display the agenda so that it is available to everyone.

Measurement of behavioral rules in online business meetings

FOM software is the tool for putting rules of conduct into practice. For example, through interactive agenda templates, requests to speak tools, speaker management, digital voting, timings and automated minutes.

FOM software also enables behavioral measurement. Because trust is good, but data is better. FOM software records whether the rules are actually being followed:

  • Do meetings start on time?
  • Are time constraints being met?
  • What tools are used during meetings?

This data enables HR managers to optimize the meeting culture step by step.

No pajamas: etiquette in online meetings

12 percent of respondents say they are bothered when other meeting participants wear inappropriate clothing.

There are signs of improvement in this regard as well: In 2021, 53 percent of respondents said they had worn tracksuits to an online meeting in the last month - 21 percent even wore pajamas.

This year, only 15 percent attended an online business meeting in their tracksuits. And only two percent were still in their pajamas.

FOM software cannot enforce a dress code. But it does create a more professional and formal meeting environment. This means that business meetings in pajamas will soon be a thing of the past.

Have you established rules of conduct for online business meetings in your company? Do you use FOM software in your company? We look forward to your input. Write to us at