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The Do’s and Don’ts of Video Conferencing While Working Remotely

Video conferencing is one technology that’s truly transformed the way remote employees communicate. If you’re not familiar with video conferencing etiquette, that’s okay! Below are some do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re set up for success.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to affect people around the globe, many organizations are shifting to a work from home model.  Fortunately, there are a variety of technologies that make it easy to communicate, collaborate, and stay engaged.

Video conferencing is one technology that’s truly transformed the way remote employees communicate.  Bringing remote workers face-to-face virtually with others enables them to build a strong rapport with team members, make decisions faster and be more productive.

If you’re not familiar with video conferencing etiquette, that’s okay!  Below are some do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re set up for success.

Setting your stage

Remember, everyone on the call can see you.  They can also see everything behind and around you too.  With that in mind, set yourself up in a quiet, appropriate place, free of clutter and distractions.  If you have roommates, family members, etc., you should let them know beforehand to avoid unnecessary interruptions. If possible, set up the camera on your laptop, so that there is a clear and unobstructed view.  We know that kids, pets, and even adults don’t always stay quiet, so ensure you’re honest at the start of the call in case there are any disruptions.

Be sure to position yourself far enough from the camera so that your upper body and hand gestures can be seen.  This will also prevent the awkward full-screen close-up that can add an unintended dramatic effect.  Avoid bright background lights whenever possible as this can create a shadow or make your face appear darker. You should always check your video before the meeting to make sure the background looks professional.  If you’d like, you can check to see if your software offers the option to use a virtual background. We’ve seen some fun ones, like a beach scene lately.

Checking your appearance

While you may choose to remain in your comfortable clothes or pajamas when working from home, it’s suggested you treat a virtual meeting the same way you would an in-person meeting.  There’s no need to go out of your way to wear extra makeup or maintain a formal dress code, but it is important that you dress appropriately and appear clean and tidy.

Your appearance should not be distracting. This may convey a wrong message like – lack of professionalism.  Feel free to leave the suit on the hanger, but changing into a business casual dress shirt, a sweater will make you feel more like you’ve started your workday.

Gearing up before the call

If you’re not in a private space, you should equip yourself with a headset/earpiece that has a microphone.  It’s a good idea to test the audio and video before the call to ensure your Wi-fi connection is strong and there’s no echo or background noise while someone is speaking.

Be on time.  Logging into the call early is a good best practice and gives you time to adjust your settings and make introductions.  Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the mute button.  This comes in handy when there are unexpected background noises such as kids, pets, etc.  You can always keep your line on mute unless you are speaking.

If there’s a chance you may share your screen, take a few moments to prepare by closing any unnecessary tabs, windows, and pages that may contain private or sensitive information.

Stay engaged

Limit multitasking during video calls.  Remember, you’re on camera, so be sure not to check your phone, send emails or browse the web during this time. It’s a good habit to look at the camera whenever possible – not just when you’re speaking.  Looking at the screen can give the impression you’re doing something else and not paying attention to the person speaking.  The best way to do this is to practice the same etiquette you would during an in-person meeting.

What has worked for you? Share any other tips in the comment section below.

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