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Remote worker etiquette: how to prepare for an online meeting
Remote worker etiquette: how to prepare for an online meeting

Tips from a business psychologist that are useful for those who work remotely.

Remote worker etiquette: how to prepare for an online meeting
Remote worker etiquette: how to prepare for an online meeting

In the first months of the pandemic, when employees began to massively switch to telecommuting, there were many funny stories. Naked husbands accidentally got into the frame, while the children happily informed their mother, and along with other members of the board of directors, that they went to the toilet. And the appearance of the prosecutor in the form of a kitten at the court session in general glorified both the lawyer and the filter in Zoom.

While it can be fun to get into the news, the attorney was unlikely to like it. To avoid becoming a YouT ube hero, it's best to practice online meeting etiquette. It arose largely spontaneously, people "groped" for it by trial and error over the past year and a half of constant videoconferencing.

Let's analyze the basic principles that will not hurt to remember.

Use your real name and photo

Although sometimes you want to define yourself as a "Brave Viking", it is best not to. Keeping mysterious and not entering the name is also not worth it, as well as simply indicating "I". Unfortunately, not all colleagues and clients appreciate it. Therefore, it is better to use your real name and surname - this way the interlocutors will immediately understand who you are.

The second required element is an avatar. If you don't have the opportunity to include a video, the photo will look better than your initials or a black block with a first and last name. Here, too, it is important not to overdo it - it is better to put your real photo without any frills. That is, photos from the beach or from the club will not work, so you will only confuse your colleagues. It is also better not to put yourself in full growth, your face is enough: on small screens it is difficult to make out who is standing next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Take care of your appearance

It should be appropriate, which means no extremes. If you dress too informally, it will turn out impolite, preferring a tuxedo to a robe - it will also come out out of place.

Finding a balance is harder than meets the eye. For example, in offices many people wear a white shirt and black jacket, but for a video call, this style may seem too harsh and repulsive. Most of your colleagues are unlikely to wear a two-piece suit for a Zoom meeting.

It is important that the clothes are comfortable, but you should not wear obviously worn clothes: stained T-shirts or torn T-shirts. You would rather make your colleagues laugh than offend, but bosses and clients may be offended.

By the way, dressing up in "uniform" is not only before the video call. This will help you get ready if it is difficult to get involved in work processes from home.

And yes, it's better to put on your pants - you never know, suddenly you have to get up or do something. This way you will be ready for any turn of events.

Prepare the background

Try to choose a place with the least "visual noise" and make sure that no unnecessary objects fall into the frame. An unmade bed, socks scattered on the floor are clearly not what colleagues need to see.

Something solid and solid is best. For example, a wall with wallpaper in pastel colors. These colors are not distracting and therefore serve as a good option. It is also useful to remember the combination of background and clothing. So, I often sit against a wall with a cozy brick pattern that fits almost any wardrobe.

And if you decide to use a virtual background, be sure to make sure that it works correctly and does not overlap your face.

Provide technical points

For video calls, it is better to use laptops or computers with a video camera. If there is nothing suitable, you can do with a phone, but you should fix it on a tripod: the picture will twitch in your hands. And you definitely shouldn't go back and forth with your mobile.

Also, do not forget to plug in headphones - the speakerphone gives a strong echo that disturbs everyone. If you are using wireless, make sure they are sufficiently charged.

Mute your microphone during a conference when you are not speaking so as not to disturb others or get into embarrassing situations. Or worse. So, one employee did not know how to turn off the microphone, which was used by her cat, who was actively meowing nearby. What was happening greatly amused colleagues, but not the boss. He decided that they were laughing at him, and then no one was particularly happy.

And when you're performing, include the video too. In this case, the camera should not be glued or stained with something - it is better to check this before the meeting. From the point of view of etiquette, you can do without a camera in three cases:

  1. The call is unplanned, something needs to be discussed urgently.
  2. One of the participants is at work in a location where video communication is inappropriate.
  3. Because of the video, the connection gets damaged and everything hangs.

If you are going to make a video call in the messenger, first check with your colleague if he agrees to this format. When the camera is turned on only for one of the interlocutors, there is a feeling of unequal communication.

Show respect for your interlocutors

Make sure you are signed in to your profile on the online platform in advance so that you can join the meeting in time. It is better to join the broadcasts 2-3 minutes before the start of the meeting in order to have time to eliminate problems if they suddenly appear.

Also, make sure that you are in a quiet room and not outside when you call. If you are at home, arrange with your family not to drop in your room until the online meeting is over. It is also important that you are not distracted by couriers and other business.

Keep track of the meeting, even if you want to relax a little at home. Otherwise, you will find yourself in an awkward situation, like the Estonian MP Tarmo Kruuzimäe. He undressed, went to bed, turned on the music and started vaping. And then it was his turn to ask questions. By the way, he did not understand this either. But fellow MPs appreciated Tarmo's ability to rest, and journalists replicated what happened.

While the tips seem straightforward, the video footage above shows that they are not easy to follow. Prepare your technique ahead of time, be business-like, and remember that the meeting continues even if you personally have finished speaking.