It’s week four, and the world as we affectionately know as BC (Before Corona) seems like a distant memory. Chances are if you weren’t working from home before, you probably are now. ‘The Corona” as I’ve coined it lately, has turned our day-to-day upside down, and with the need to stay at home to stay virus-free, working from home has become our new normal. Even the most loyal homebodies are losing their minds in the house, and for us with children, we are learning how to balance work and keeping children learning and entertained at the same time.
Despite the countless memes on Instagram, of people lounging in their PJs, watching Tiger King, while they “work from home”, your reality probably looks more like you sitting on back-to-back video conference calls with at least one kid screaming in the background. Okay – to be fair, pajamas are probably still on.
I know we aren’t new to video conference calls, but given the climate, this seemed like great timing for a refresher on Virtual Meeting Etiquette. It’s easy to feel comfortable at home and that throws us off our A-game for work. Here’s how to navigate virtual meetings like a boss.
Turn Your Camera On
This has a lot to do with your company culture. If coworkers don’t turn their camera on, don’t feel obligated, but it’s a good rule of thumb to be visible, even remotely. Just make sure your environment is well-lit, quiet, and doesn’t have background distractions. We’re all adjusting to this new situation, and chances are you have multiple people at home, but try to avoid them jumping on to your camera or appearing in the background. Things happen, and companies are being flexible, but you are still working and want to appear professional. If some distraction does interrupt your meeting, apologize, swiftly address the distraction and move right back into the meeting.
Dress for Work
Especially if you plan to turn your camera on, make sure you are dressed how you would dress for work. Don’t show any unnecessary skin and make sure your appearance is well-kept. So yes, that means you have to comb your hair, remove your scarf and you should probably take off those PJs.
Don’t Drink on the Job
It’s tough when you have back-to-back meetings, but try not to eat during a meeting, especially if you are on camera. Also, we know it might be tempting, but unless you are at a virtual happy hour, make sure that coffee mug is really coffee. It’s easy to be lax during these times, but you’re still at work.
The mute button is your friend! It’s honestly best to stay on mute and only take it off mute when you are speaking. We’ve all been there when you hear someone typing in the background, the dog barking or someone having an embarrassing conversation. You can avoid all of that by being on mute.
Follow Conversation Cues
One of the most frustrating things about being on a virtual meeting is the constant conversation interjections and interruptions. It’s important that even though you aren’t in person you still follow conversation cues. Wait for pauses in the conversation to begin talking. If the meeting is large, consider instituting features like raising your hands or using the chat feature for questions or comments.
It’s easy to use meetings as a chance to multi-task, but it makes the current meeting inefficient. Make sure you are staying alert, paying attention and speaking up when you should.
What are your virtual meeting tips?