Did you ever think that this year you would be video calling your team every single day instead of working alongside them in the office? Or that instead of the “let’s have a drink” or “let’s catch up over coffee” the oft repeated phrases would turn into “Let’s get together on Zoom” or “let’s Skype?”
The dreadful Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the way companies work globally. Whether it is a large or a small company, almost all employees are working from home with the lockdown in effect, maintaining stringent social distancing norms, while governments scramble to find cures. Video conferencing has emerged as the only way to keep in touch with teams scattered over cities, countries and even continents.
Whether we like it or not, video calling has become the new normal. At a time like this, it is important to get the basics right. Read on to find out more:
Plan and purpose of the meeting
Plan the meeting and agenda in advance so that everyone is clear about why the meeting is being held and the points to be discussed.
Check your network
Make sure you are connected to a stable internet connection. You do not want your colleagues to see your video buffer or hear your audio in bits and pieces. Nor do you want to lose a chunk of what your manager just said because your internet dropped.
Position of your laptop
Raise the height of your laptop to a level where you do not need to lean forward to view the screen.
Check your background
Sit in a place where there is ample amount of light and a plain wall in the background instead of your favourite rock band’s poster.
Wear appropriate clothing
You might be working from home but dress as though you were in office. You might have to get up in the middle of the call and you do not want to embarrass yourself or your colleagues! Ditch the shorts and wear proper trousers.
Use the “Mute” button
Always mute your audio when you are not speaking. You never know what your child or family might say to you when you are on the call which could lead to an embarrassing situation. Safer to be in a room where you are not interrupted. Remember Korea expert Professor Robert Kelly whose kids hijacked his video interview on BBC? That is the kind of popularity you do not need.
Let your team know if you are unable to attend the meeting
You should tell your colleagues in advance if you can’t attend the meeting. It is not polite to keep people waiting!
Do not interrupt in between
If you have to say something or add your points, then it is advisable to raise your hand and then speak instead of jumping in when your colleague is saying something.
Keep your notes handy
Keep your pen and diary beside you and note down the points that you think are important or if you think you may forget them later.
Everyone on the team might not have the best of equipment. Some might not have good internet speed or their laptop camera might be of low quality. In those cases, try to be calm and think how you can help them.