I have been working for the past two decades. I may sound too old fashioned, but I always prefer to go to the office even when I have come across enough opportunities of working from the comfort of my home. Considering the current scenario, digital working space is no more a choice and I must acclimatise myself to the online work culture.
I specalise in digital content creation and training in varied niches. After delivering a few training and workshops online, I have learned that there are rules that one must follow while attending an online meeting. When you are working or attending a meeting on Zoom, Microsoft Team, Google Meet, or any of these online platforms from the comfort of your home you must follow the following basic etiquette rules:-
You may not believe but I have seen people attending formal training sessions in the nightwear and casual t-shirts. Do you go to any workplace like this? So, what if your office or work is online now? Comb your hair and wear semi-formal clothes.
Women may choose to apply nude or natural makeup to look fresh and awaken, and men may choose to shave or trim the beard. Dressing improperly not only makes you look shabby but also unprofessional.
Keep Your Video “On” and Mic on “Mute”
Do you hide your face while you are in the office? Of course not. If your video is off, the conversation is happening with a screen and mind you, no one wants to talk to the screen. Other people may lose interest in the conversation. Your presence may not be counted, or in the worst scenario you might be ignored completely and the meeting may not be fruitful for you.
Keep your mic on mute until you have to speak. Everyone understands that a house cannot offer pin drop silence when every member of the family is home including children. The background noises are not only distracting for others but a serious reason for you to be judged.
Pay Attention to Backdrop
Preferably sit on a table and chair, where you have or can create a decent backdrop. If not, sit against a plain wall but never on a scattered bed. If there is a painting or calendar behind, make sure it is not fluttering due to the fan. Never sit against a mirror or dressing table since it will give a sneak peek into your house to everyone else.
Share the Screen Wisely
When you share your screen, please close the other windows that are not relevant. I accidentally saw someone’s screen on which a movie was paused at the lovemaking scene. Watching inappropriate content on your screen is very embarrassing for everyone including you in the meeting. If you are logging through your phone, ensure to switch on the “Do Not Disturb” option and avoid notifications and call prompts during the share. Stop the screen share while entering login credentials or passwords.
Do Not Eat
Do you eat while you are in a meeting? No, you don’t. It is OK to drink water or tea/coffee but never munch during a meeting. Considering you are in the comfort of your home you may eat or have tea later. During the meeting pay attention to work only. I fail to understand when one can wait for the lunch hour in the office to eat, why eat at noon during the meeting?
Keep the Cables Handy
Your laptop, Ipad, Phone, or any other device might run out of battery during the long sessions. Keep your cables handy and do not run around in the house with your device to plug in at the last moment. Should you need the mic/audio, devices ensure that they are plugged in before the meeting and not when it’s your turn to answer questions. Struggling with cables at the eleventh hour not only causes wastage of time but also makes you look unorganised.
Last but not the least, this one is very crucial both in the physical and virtual work environment. Login at least 5 to 7 minutes prior to the meeting if you are attending and at least 15 minutes prior if you are the host. Respect the time limit allotted to you while you speak and stick to the point during conversations. Make use of chatbox so that there is very little or no time wasted on less important discussions.
What we thought was a matter of days seems to be part of our lives now. However, we must adapt to the new normal. The times have changed, so are the work environments, and in accordance the rules. Follow all the above while you attend online meetings and be a professional you always were!
Photo by Chris Montgomery