Simple Etiquette Tips for Better Video Conferencing
Part 5: Working From Usual and Unusual Locations
Working from home
Teleworking and working from home have certainly grown in popularity in recent years, offering benefits for both employers and employees. For the home-based worker, rolling out of bed and jumping right into your work with that first cup of coffee can be a productivity boost, even if you do it wearing bunny slippers. But as the day wears on, domestic interruptions can impact your video meetings and the image you present to others. Your home office is an extension of the workplace, and you should give that due consideration. If you wouldn’t want your personal business shared around the water cooler, you should avoid having it on display behind you in your home office. The same goes for family members, of both the two- and four-legged variety. Most everyone loves the occasional surprise when loved ones drop by the office, but if they visited every day, they would become a distraction. This is especially important when making presentations to customers, executives, or partners. A simple cue card (Presenting Live, Do Not Disturb) taped outside your work area can help set the right, professional tone when you need it most–and if your dogs or cats can’t read, remember to let them out to play prior to that presentation to the board. One last point–and this is important– if your video connection is using the same internet that supports all the other devices on your home network, make sure your family knows how to support you. Avoid large downloads (games, music, movies), avoid streaming, be careful about online gaming–especially multiplayer games, and don’t choose work time to check “yes” to update your smart devices (phone, tablet). In some neighborhoods where cable companies provide much of the internet service, a “snow day” can be particularly challenging if everyone is trying to work from home and entertain themselves all at once.
Remember to pay attention to your environment, and make sure you don’t have any distractions in your background.
Planes, trains, and coffee shops
Remember that public environments are, well, public. That person sitting next to you on the train really does not want to know your business. Really. So use your headset, and keep your voice to a conversational level. And, of course, if you are dealing with sensitive information, be thoughtful and think before you share! Internet speeds in airports and in airport lounges vary in quality, so be prepared to go audio only to preserve sound and content quality. Airports also have a lot of ambient noise–announcements of gate changes, boarding details, etc.–so keep yourself on mute as a matter of course unless you are speaking. Try to be stationary while you are on video; having the team try to focus on you with all the hubbub in the background can be very distracting.
Part 1: Before Your Start | Part 2: Test It First | Part 3: In the Call | Part 4: Common Challenges | Part 5: Working from Usual and Unusual Locations