By now, you have probably seen the video making the rounds on social media of a woman working from home who’s video conferencing bathroom blunder has unfortunately made her a popular coronavirus meme.
For the foreseeable future, many of us are shifting to working from home, and that means restructuring our team meetings and adjusting to the circumstances. And whether you’re using Zoom, Hangouts Meet, or any other video conferencing software out there, it is important to brush up on your video conferencing etiquette.
Don’t get caught with your pants around your ankles. Don’t be like Jennifer.
While our fashion standards may have slightly slipped over the past week – I gave up on shoes last Tuesday – it is important for us to maintain some semblance of normalcy and professionalism in our video meetings. That means wearing casual, work-appropriate attire. If you wouldn’t wear a crop-top and bike shorts to the office, you probably shouldn’t wear them during a video conference call.
Pro Tip: Wear pants. Imagine you need to stand up in a hurry while video conferencing because you spilled hot coffee on yourself. Would you want the rest of the office to see your Harry Potter pajama bottoms? (Maybe. Mine have Hedwig on them.)
Choose The Right Environment.
When choosing the right environment for your call, it’s all about location, location, location, baby. An ideal location would be somewhere with good lighting, quiet, and without any distractions. Try to avoid sitting in areas with ambient noise, such as near a whirring refrigerator or dishwasher, or near a window in a noisy, high-traffic area. If the room you have chosen has inappropriate wall art or distracting decor, remove them for the duration of the meeting. This also goes for attention-seeking partners, pets, children, and lazy roommates.
Test Your Technology.
Testing. One, two, three. Before participating in your meeting, make sure you test your audio – both speakers and microphone – and camera. This gives you time to download additional updates or troubleshoot the program, if necessary. This goes without saying, but make sure you have a stable internet connection to avoid glitches and lagging on the video.
If you are planning on sharing your screen during a video call, take the time to close unnecessary tabs and clear your desktop of private documents and sensitive information.
Look At The Camera.
Now is not the time to look at your email, Karen! It is important to focus your attention on your colleagues while they speak as if it were a regular day at the office. It might be tempting to scroll around your social media channels or respond to an email, but it will be obvious to other participants that you are not fully focused and engaged during the video call. Not to mention that it is very disrespectful to your colleagues.
Mute Your Microphone.
Please, for the love of Zuul, mute your microphone while you are not speaking. As we mentioned, your microphone will pick up a lot of background noise, so muting it allows the main speaker and the conversation to flow uninterrupted.
Stay On Track.
Like many IRL meetings, hosting a video conference without a meeting agenda can feel like a waste of time for attendees. An effective and well-thought-out meeting agenda will address all key talking points and define the outcomes. If possible, share the meeting agenda with all attendees prior to the video conference, so that participants are already familiar with the topics of discussion prior to the call.