Like it or not, now that the circuit breaker is in place, those of us who can work remotely are all working from home and video conferencing is now a part of our daily work routine.
Video conferencing has been around for a long time, but for those who just transited into working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may take some getting used to. You can basically treat your video conferences like a physical meeting, but on top of that, there are some additional expectations and etiquettes that you need to understand so that you can avoid all the major faux pas.
Here are the do's and don'ts of video conferencing, and be sure to take extra note on the points below for your next meeting.
1. Look appropriate
The kind of appropriate outfits will really depend on your company's culture. If the dress code has always been casual, it will be fine to wear your comfortable t-shirts at the virtual meetings. But do keep in mind that casual does not mean sloppy.
If you work in a company where workwear is more formal, you may want to look professional during your video conferences. For an important meeting, you may want to bring out your blazers, but for everyday WIP updates, a crisp shirt and the likes should be fine.
2. Angle your camera properly
Set the camera of your laptop at your eye level and position yourself so that it shows your midsection up. Avoid a bottom-up angle because your colleagues will have to face your nostrils for the entire meeting. Likewise, a too top-down angle in an attempt to have a smaller face isn't going to work either because your team members wouldn't be able to see your expressions clearly.
3. Mute yourself when you are not speaking
Your microphone can pick up the slightest noise, like your family members talking in the background, your typing, or even paper flipping. It is basic courtesy to mute your audio when you are not speaking since all the noise can be distracting, or even annoying to those who are in the meeting.
4. Be punctual
Nobody likes someone who is late to a meeting, be it a face-to-face meeting or a virtual video conference. It is disrespectful and rude, and not only that, it is a distraction to everyone. Being late is especially visible in a video conference, unlike a physical one where you can sneak in and perhaps go unnoticed. Everyone is busy, so don't waste your colleague's time.
5. Be focused
It can be very tempting to check your emails or even continue to work on your document during a video conference. But in case you do not know, it is very obvious to all the other attendees. Not only will you come across as being rude, but you may also miss important points discussed in the video conference since research has stated that only 3% of the population can multitask effectively.
6. Check your screen before sharing
The screen sharing function allows us to show our colleagues our work for effective collaborations. But remember to close the tabs that are not work appropriate before sharing screens. For example, you don't want your boss to see you browsing e-shopping sites or playing online games. If you have a desktop wallpaper that is not work appropriate too, please remember to change it before sharing screens. You don't want accidents to happen!
7. Check your background
Again, it really depends on your company's culture to decide what is ok and what is not. If you are from an entertainment company, a few pop stars' posters in the background wouldn't hurt. But that will be a little different if you are having a major meeting in a huge MNC. Regardless, a background showing dirty laundry or a very cluttered workspace is not going to work out well. Move your laptop if you have to.