It’s safe to say working from home is far from instinctual. There’re a lot of nuances everyone has to learn before flying solo. One of those being how to conduct yourself in virtual meetings. It’s not so much an art as it is common courtesy, but in case you need a refresher, here are our top do’s and don’ts of video meeting etiquette:
Do dress to impress
It’s far too easy to roll out of bed two minutes before 8:00 am to clock into work on your laptop - still in your pajamas with your sleep mask pulled back and birds-nest-bun barely tied up. You’re home after all. Why change when the most company you’ll see that day is your dog, Chaser, and the Amazon delivery guy tepidly dropping off your nth package of the month?
While that sounds glorious, we urge you to resist the temptation! Working from home doesn’t give you a free pass from meetings. If anything, you’re bound to have even more meetings these days. Make sure you do dress to impress. Video meetings still require face-to-face interaction, so try setting your alarm to give enough time for at least a quick hairbrush and dress-code approved attire.
Don’t forget to introduce yourself
You can never over-communicate when it comes to video meetings. Sometimes your mike may stop working suddenly or your camera turns off without notice. Whatever the case, don’t forget to introduce yourself - and occasionally pipe up to let people know you’re still breathing - during video meetings.
A simple, “Hi, I’m here!” goes a long way to put people’s mind at ease and get on with the meeting.
Do show up on time to meetings
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re not early, you’re late.”? It’s not always applicable, but we promise in video meetings, proper etiquette lives by this. Video conference calls are a bit unconventional as it is, so it’s better to put your best foot forward in this case and do show up on time for meetings. And by “on time,” we mean early. Logging into a call between 3-5 minutes should suffice.
Don’t have distractions in the background
Smile at your computer if you’ve seen someone’s child running through the background of a video meeting in the last seven days. Did you smile? We bet you did. Either way, this is a top don’t for an obviously distracting (and yet hilariously entertaining) reason.
Don’t have distractions in the background, for the sake of shorter meetings and your overall productivity level. Distractions include - but are not limited to - kids jumping in the background, the third season of GoT playing on the TV, Lady Gaga’s new single blasting from your Bluetooth speaker, and yourself munching on Chick-Fil-A selfishly while meetings attendees gawk in envy. It’s best to spare fellow coworkers of all of the above during work hours.
Do keep your microphones muted until needed
Be it a slip of the tongue, an uninvited bowel movement, or your breakfast sausage coughing up a 10/10 burp, there are countless reasons why this is a must when it comes to video meeting etiquette. Do keep your microphone muted until needed in a video conference call to minimize any embarrassment on your part.
Also, with multiple meetings attendees and various network connections and equipment in play here, it’s best to mute mic to prevent background noise from interrupting the flow of the meeting.
Don’t multitask during meetings
We all do it. Even though there are dozens of studies from various universities touting against the ineffectiveness of multitasking. There’s a tick in us busy bees to accomplish world peace in the span of a 30-minute video meeting, and while it’s a harsh reality, we have to say no more. Don’t multitask during meetings.
Whether you’re answering emails, jotting down your grocery list for that evening, or texting a friend back because memes win always, try as best you can to focus on the video meeting in front of you. You get what you put into things, after all. Plus, coworkers aren’t as unaware as we’d like to think; darting eyes and smiling at things they said which had to do with math are clear signs you’re not paying attention. And that would hurt anyone’s feelings.
Do test your connection beforehand
When working in the office, you don’t always have to worry about in-person meetings tanking because of poor internet connection. But when working from home, this is the crux of a successful pow-wow. You absolutely need reliable internet to hold any video conference.
So, do test your connection at the beginning of each day or before a meeting to put your mind at ease. Open an empty conference call and see whether the connection holds after 5/10/15 minutes. Similarly, test your microphone to ensure it’s working (for those rare unmuted moments), and make sure your computer camera turns on. This is one instance when you can never be too prepared.
Don’t sneak out early
Video meeting etiquette 101: conference calls aren’t high football games. You can’t sneak out the back without anyone noticing and expect to go about your evening scot-free. Plus, it’s just awkward.
Don’t sneak out early from a meeting without saying anything. Respectfully apologize for needing to hop off the call early and say your goodbyes quickly. And voila - you’re done! Don’t worry about explaining yourself; for all they know you need to let the dog out early or make a trip to the lou (does putting it in British slang make it any less awkward?).
Hopefully, this helpful list of top do’s and don’ts for video meeting etiquette prepares you for tomorrow’s day of work. Comment below if you have any other do’s or don’ts you think missed the cut prematurely.