Over the past few weeks, how we work and the way we work has dramatically changed. The current situation with coronavirus means many people who are normally office-based, have now found themselves working from home. This comes with its own unique challenges. Being at home means it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re still connecting with those we work with. The easiest way to do this is via video conferencing apps such as Zoom.
I, like so many, was completely new to Zoom three weeks ago but have quickly learned a few important do’s and don’ts’ along the way.
DO make sure your audio and video are working
There’s nothing worse than getting yourself ready for your call and when you get onto it, your colleagues can’t hear or see you. Check your computer/laptop/phone settings to make sure you’re all raring to go.
DO dress to impress
Whether this is wearing your usual smart/casual work wear or a uniform that’s comfortable, it’s always important to look as you would if you were at work. A branded polo shirt/jumper will suffice if you’re lucky enough to have one or a smart top/shirt if not.
DON’T arrive late
Always make sure that you’re logging on a few minutes early, if you can. Sometimes you have to wait for the host to log in before you can. If you’re the host, try to get on the call five minutes before you start your meeting to iron out any issues.
Prepare as you would for a usual meeting at work. Write down all of the things you’ve been doing, how long things are taking and your key achievements. The latter is a nice way to show to your managers and colleagues you’re still giving 100% even though you’re at home. Show that you can still go about your usual duties even if you are wearing comfier clothes!
DO work out where to look
One of the tricky things about video calls is knowing where to look. We immediately want to look at someone while they’re talking but if you do that, your colleagues miss out on your eye contact. Make sure to look directly into the camera. It might feel strange but you’ll get used to it.
DON’T forget, colleagues can see you
Be aware of your body language, facial expressions and turn that frown upside down! You want to come across well and still look professional. Take time to arrange your work area and how you’re sitting too. If you have a desk or dining table at home you can use, set yourself up there. It will trick your mind into thinking you’re in the office when you’re not.
DON’T forget to mute
When joining your Zoom meeting, make sure you mute your microphone on entering. Otherwise, you might fall prey to dogs barking or private conversations suddenly becoming public! The only person who shouldn’t mute on arrival is the person hosting the meeting.
DO keep meetings focused
If you’re using the free Zoom app, you only get 40 minutes of time per video call. After that, it cuts you off and the call is ended. Create a schedule of points, fed into by colleagues, to ensure you maximise this quality time with your colleagues.
DO pay close attention
It’s so tempting to try and multitask while on a call but try not to do this as your attention will be divided. You wouldn’t want your manager to ask you a question or ask your opinion and you weren’t listening.