Business meetings – a thing of the past and is it normal to continue working during them?
in Careers Advice, Employers, Legal Profession

Business meetings – a thing of the past and is it normal to continue working during them?

I rarely get to attend business meetings because most of our work is done online across our group of companies. With the advent of Zoom I suspect that attending meetings in person is going to be even more unusual.

Prior to the current lockdown a new client wanted to meet me to discuss a number of positions they were seeking to fill, and I duly agreed to drive down to their offices to meet with them.

Laptop Work

I was surprised to see that a director present at the meeting seemed to take part for about 20 minutes and then found his attention diverted to the laptop sat in front of him. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a business meeting before where someone has decided to focus on their laptop instead of the person they are in the meeting with. I have to say this left me with a somewhat negative impression of a) the director, b) the company, and c) the meeting.

New Etiquette?

So is it new business etiquette now to have a meeting but take your laptop with you and perhaps work on your phone at the same time? Would it have been acceptable if I had opened my laptop and started working whilst speaking to the two customers, or would this have been considered rude? Was it rude for the director to do the same?

I suspect that the director’s comments halfway through the meeting “I hate recruitment consultants”, may have given an indication as to what he thought of me and also his value attached to the meeting we were having!

Zoom Meetings

These have one major advantage – if you attend online webinars, training and meetings using Zoom and have two screens = you can have the Zoom page up on one screen and work on the other. This is so much more productive. Whilst the disadvantage is the difficulty of people speaking at the same time, Zoom meetings enable you to be so much more productive without needing to travel.

What would you have done?

So what would you have done? Would you have shaken hands and walked out the moment the director started working on the laptop, or would you have ignored/accepted it as the new norm or a business necessity? Get in touch and let us know your thoughts.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at