As of summer 2020, the new normal in businesses across the United States and the world is working and videoconferencing from home. It’s not a new concept, but the recent and sweeping acceptance of its practice is a new phenomenon. This unfamiliar trend is completely due to the potentially detrimental effects of the coronavirus, the effort to not get infected with it, and the deceleration or prevention of its spread.
Everyone is hoping for a vaccine in the next year or so to make the COVID 19 virus go away, but in the meantime, many of us will be working and communicating with our coworkers from home. This article will highlight some tips and best practices along with what not to do in order to get the most out of your ‘videoconferencing from home’ experience.
What Are Some Tips for Seamless and Successful Videoconferencing from Home?
Stay Calm and Try to Relax – First of all, you will be in the same boat as everyone else on the videoconference. You might be nervous initially, but just remember you probably won’t be the only one feeling this way. Like you, most people don’t enjoy having everyone looking at them and listening to their every word, so just relax and remember these people are your colleagues and are probably nervous as well. The more you talk on the videoconference and see and hear your colleagues talk, the less apprehension you’ll have, and actively participating in these conference calls will progressively become easier and easier.
Eliminate Distractions – What you don’t want to happen when you are videoconferencing from home is for there to be noise or distracting movement in your background. If you have a dog that barks every time a car drives by, you might want to put that dog in the carpeted bedroom on the opposite corner of your home with a towel sealing the crack at the bottom of the door! Or if you have children that will be screaming or playing or fighting, do your best to get a babysitter or maybe try to schedule their nap during the time of your teleconference. You certainly don’t want a radio or TV on, and you’ll want to turn off the ringer of any type of phone in your home. Also, if you have chirping birds or barking dogs outside or loud traffic driving by, shut your window. All of these are distractions that will potentially disrupt the videoconference and draw negative attention to you.
Clean Yourself – No, you won’t be at work physically, but you will be interacting with your colleagues, and you want to look as appropriately professional as possible. We have all heard about the telecommuter that wears unseen gym shorts along with a dress shirt and tie because he knows the camera will only show his upper body. That’s okay, but just remember not to stand up if you are wearing your shorts or pajama bottoms. It could be embarrassing. It’s best to just get cleaned up, groom yourself, wear makeup if it makes you feel better, get fully dressed, and get on the videoconference call looking your best.
Clean Your Home – Do you want your coworkers to think you are messy and undisciplined? Of course not! Even if you are, take the time to clean, at the very least, the part of the house that will be visible on camera. Don’t make your coworkers look at piles of messy dishes overflowing from the sink or your underwear hanging from a doorknob. It’s just not professional! So do yourself a favor and take the time to clean up.
Use Quality Technology – If the others in your videoconference are using good quality video and audio equipment, you will stand out like a sore thumb if your audio is echoing and cutting out or if your video is choppy. Make sure you have a good connection, proper bandwidth, and a quality microphone so everyone else can understand you. And remember to test everything before the videoconference call. Set up a trial run with a friend if you have to, and make sure they can see and hear you just like you can see and hear them. Some companies will pay for the computer upgrades of your home equipment that is necessary for successful videoconferencing.
Other Tips – If you know you’ll be asked to discuss a topic or issue, be ready with notes and prepare beforehand what you’ll be saying. Remember to use the bathroom immediately before the videoconference, and also remember to have a glass of water or coffee nearby if you need a quick sip. Lastly, try not to talk over your coworkers, and be respectful.
That’s it! Follow these guidelines, and you should have little or no problems getting used to participating in smooth teleconferences with your boss and coworkers. You never know, videoconferencing could likely become the wave of the future even after the pandemic is over. Fewer employees at the workplace result in less overhead necessary to accommodate those employees, and it might turn out that you’ll be working from home a lot more than you ever would have expected. Stay safe.