Video conferencing was just an occasional emergency measure to have a meeting or conference call with clients and partners in different parts of the world, but with the coronavirus pandemic and incumbent restrictions, it is now the norm in the workplace.
Video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom have become a part of everyday conversations, rivalling social media platforms.
Remote office collaboration through virtual online calls has become an essential component of the modern business world. In fact, 80% of executives say video conferencing has taken over audio conferencing for internal team communication. Combined with the fact that it was already predicted that 50 percent of the workforce will be working remotely in 2020, the reality is that the number has gone up significantly, with almost everyone forced to work from home.
This new way of working comes with its own set of challenges—the etiquettes of conducting a video conference and participating in one, the engagement quotient in the absence of human interactions and body language cues, and in general replicating an office environment for maximum output.
Here we being by clarifying some simple video conferencing etiquette:
- Mute yourself when not speaking.
- Be on time.
- Make sure beforehand that your computer and accessories re in working order.
- Wear work-appropriate clothing.
- Frame the camera correctly.
- Pay attention.
1. Mute your microphone when not speaking
Most microphones can pick up minor background noises, like coughs, sneezes, or typing. These sounds can easily distract other video conferencing participants. Even if you are typing during the meeting, the sound gets picked up.
2. Be on time
This is standard protocol. While you might be able to get away with sneaking into a physical meeting late, it is not possible during a video call without disrupting the flow of the meeting as everyone gets a notification about you joining.
3. Ensure your devices are in proper working order
Ensure that your device is set up properly. Do a test check for display and sound, and connectivity. You do not want to delay a meeting with an important client because your video conferencing system isn’t working properly.
4. Use technology to fully engage remote participants
This is especially true for managers or the host of the meetings. The 2020 State of Remote Work report found that interruptions and being talked over are two of the biggest virtual meeting challenges for both remote and on-site workers.
Some video conferencing platforms allow you to make a digital meeting more productive. For example, they allow a 360-degree view with many windows. The person speaking can be highlighted, etc. Such options give an organic meeting room feel.
Also, always make eye contact with the camera, do not look away, and speak.
5. Choose the proper software and hardware
You’ll also need a software solution that your employees can use without frustration or extensive training. Getting used to new ways of working takes time. If team members are spread over the world, ensure that they have access to the same technology, platforms, and good internet connections. Even scheduling a meeting appropriate to everyone is important.
6. Wear work-appropriate clothing
While it might be tempting to not dress up for work from home and work in your pajamas, it is not advisable.
Wear professional attire to any virtual conferences you’re attending. Choose something that would be appropriate if the meeting were face-to-face, rather than virtual.
7. Frame the camera correctly.
We’ve all been on video calls where we end up looking at a single eye or a real close-up of somebody’s face, etc. When you’re on video call, sit at eye level to the lens, and try to position yourself so that it shows midsection up. Neither too close nor too far off. Do an angle and display check.
Find an appropriate place to conduct the meeting. Desist from sitting on a bed with your laptop in your lap. It is unprofessional. Find a table and chair away from the household clutter and interruptions from family, kids, and pets. If you want, background screens can be used instead to give a clean, clutter-free look.
8. Pay attention
Stop checking emails or working or social media feed during conferences. Not only does research suggest only 3% of people can multitask effectively, but you also look rude to your participants.