Work video calls from home? No cats, no PJs...the things you should do and should not
With more and more people working from home due to COVID-19, video calls for work have gone up. And thanks to that, a list of dos and don’ts have been drawn up, etiquettes, for you to maintain no matter which side of the webcam you are on.
With more and more people working from home due to COVID-19, video calls for work have gone up. And thanks to that, a list of dos and don'ts have been drawn up, etiquettes, for you to maintain no matter which side of the webcam you are on.
For starters, there is a big NO against pajamas, cats and alien yes on videos.
A data architecture consultant in Oakland, California, Andre Hilden, missed a memo from his company that had asked all employees working from home to use video conferencing for all meetings.
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"I wasn't showered. I wasn't shaved. I was dressed, fortunately. And my cat was on top of me," Hilden said.
Hilden later saw a "new rules set out in the memo banned pets at the virtual meetings".
With large numbers of employees working from home now to help stop the spread of coronavirus, companies are encouraging, in some cases making it mandatory, employees to go on camera. Not only to stay connected but to also make sure they are working and online.
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Justin Uberti, the Google software developer who has helped develop the technology standards for web video chat, said on Twitter on Monday that it would be the biggest day for "video conferencing in the history of Earth. By a long shot."
Today is going to be the biggest day for video conferencing in the history of Earth. By a long shot.— Justin Uberti (@juberti) March 16, 2020
However, this seems to be catching all a lot of employees off guard.
According to reports, Hilden's Silicon Valley clients "that day were understanding about his feline companion as many bring their pets to their real offices. But Hilden said his company serves many clients in the Midwest where business norms are stricter and pets on a video call could be viewed as inappropriate".
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Venture capitalist David Wu, from Maveron, said "he dresses to make a good impression even on video calls". "But that can be different depending on the audience," he explained. For example, entrepreneurs see him in a T-shirt while investors will probably see a dress shirt.
"But always with sweatpants these days."
At Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, principal Katherine Caputo said that enforcing the school dress code via video conference helps keep students focused, even if they are pairing "sanctioned tops" with their pajama bottoms.
"I'm not going to enforce something I can't see." Also, a standard background, with school logo, helps cut distraction.
And in all this, there are people who are making the best of these rules. Ginger Rowe, the owner of clothing store Time Out Clothing in Los Gatos, California, home to Netflix corporate headquarters, is using the #workfromhome hashtag to market business casual outfits on Instagram.
Rowe said "she was looking for creative ways to help her survive the hardest time she has experienced since she opened shop 26 years ago".
But some have also been prey to unforeseen technical glitches. Like Impossible Foods executive Jessica Appelgren. Appelgren's background, which had blades of grass, during her team's call via video conferencing app Zoom did not stay in the background as her computer could not handle the function.
"You could see the backdrop through my eyes," said Appelgren, who is the vice president of communications.
"I just looked like an alien."
(With agency inputs)
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