Remote Work Archives — MW Consulting, Inc.

Zoom Etiquette in the New World

Zoom Meeting Etiquette

Video Conferencing via Zoom and Other Platforms is on the Rise

According to statistics provided by mobile market data source App Annie, video communication apps for business have seen record use levels since March 2020. As COVID-19 continues to sweep through the nation and disrupt business, many organizations have embraced work-from-home culture at a magnitude never before attempted.

Video meetings are now the new norm. In fact, Zoom saw daily meeting participants skyrocketing to 300 million users in the last quarter, which was previously a mere 10 million pre-pandemic. And a recent Gallup poll says two-thirds of remote U.S. employees say they would like to continue working from home even when pandemic restrictions lift.

With video meetings here to stay, it is time to get serious about them. The following tips for video conferencing etiquette will help you appear professional in remote meetings as seamlessly as if they were in a conference room.

Make Your Zoom Meetings Productive with These Essential Tips

Arrive on Time

Unlike a busy conference room where people are having side conversations and grabbing a last minute document from their desk before a meeting starts, video meetings make it painfully obvious when you show up late. Those who promptly logged in can easily see who is not there or not ready and holding up the whole meeting. Some executives will even “lock the door” of a video conference five minutes after the meeting starts to keep stragglers out completely. Do your best to show up on time and be ready with your microphone and camera on before the meeting starts.

Turn on Your Camera

The purpose of a remote video conference is to keep business running as smoothly and professional as possible. When your camera is on, everyone knows you made an effort to get out of bed, get dressed, and are ready to work. Avoiding avatars and stock photos keeps colleagues from wondering what you are really up to. Even if you are an introvert or having a bad hair day, turn your camera on. It is far better than being the only “invisible” person in the meeting.

Keep Your Microphone on Mute

Even with just a few people in a video conference, excess noise can be a huge distraction. Echoes and feedback can be disruptive as well. With more children participating in remote learning, employees home with their pets, and other noises occurring, it’s best to keep your microphone on mute until you need to speak. Also, silence any computer notifications, cellphones, and other disruptive alerts.

Be Attentive and Avoid Interrupting

During an in-person conversation it is easier to read body language and social cues to know when it is your time to talk, but that’s not always the case during a video conference. Do not be upstaged by the loudest voice in the Zoom room. Anticipate and watch for signals as you come off of mute. This will help everybody in attendance know you want to say something. With practice, you will volley through conversations naturally as you draw people into the conversation and give them a hook to add their own comments.

No Eating

Having a 1pm “lunch meeting” over Zoom? Skip the thought of bringing your lunch. Even if you have back-to-back video calls all day, try to snack off camera. As video calls are now a way of office life, many of your colleagues will be using speakers and high-fidelity headsets that amplify sounds – including chewing. Stay professional and considerate and simply avoid eating during your meetings.

Do Not Multitask

Everyone is busier than ever these days, which means multitasking is inevitable. But you’ll actually get more out of each meeting if you close out of all other programs and windows on your screen. This will allow you to be fully present. Giving your full attention at each meeting supports the reason why you were invited to the meeting at all. Having a notebook nearby can help you stay focused and allows you to make reminders to yourself for tasks once the meeting is over. 

With so many video conferences, there’s no doubt your teams will need to get onboard with the new way of working!

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How to Maintain Company Culture While Working Remotely

How to Maintain Company Culture While Working Remotely

Over the last eight months, work as we know it has shifted. In an effort to keep operations moving forward, many organizations are relying solely on remote work for the unforeseeable future. As we head into the winter months and new waves of the pandemic sweep the nation, the realities of work will continue to adjust. Those business leaders who want to embrace company culture in the “new world” will need to develop new conversations and answer existential questions around the future of work.

One of the biggest hurdles to comprehensive remote work guidelines in the past has been an absence of trust from managers and executive teams that their remote workers can sustain productivity outside of the office. For years, despite trusting employees, managers still preferred the supervision that an office environment allows. With no other option but to work remotely over the last several months, managers who were once skeptical are now beginning to have confidence in their remote employees. Now, the second barrier among managers and leadership teams is tackling how to build and sustain company culture as employees work remotely.

Studies show that remote employees have traditionally felt isolated and disconnected from corporate culture. Yet, many corporations of all sizes are proving that it is absolutely possible to keep remote workers happy and in the loop while achieving excellent company culture. Companies that are purpose-driven and move to embrace the remote employee experience will discover more productive and content employees in the future of flexible employment. The following tips may help your own company move in that direction.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Employees working together in the same office easily share decisions and corporate messages. They stay in-the-know simply by impromptu meetings and frequent or informal conversations. By communicating and over communicating to ensure you build an internal messaging plan, you help to put remote employees first. By sharing messages more repeatedly and far more than you have previous done, you help cascade information through all channels and to all employees. In addition, executives that keep an open-door policy (even virtually) create an “ask me anything” atmosphere which allows employees to ask questions and share issues that are top of mind.

Keep communication lines open when remotely working

Technology is Key

More and more studies indicate that even after the COVID-19 crisis is over, workers will transition to working a few days from home. Companies who build a virtual company culture using numerous technology platforms for communications and collaborations will see the highest rates of success. Technology is the cornerstone of building an integrated and wide-ranging relationship between team members and management. Options such as Slack, Monday, Basecamp, Skype can be used on various devices for optimal communication.

Of course, the best tech for remote workers does not end with communication software platforms. Offering cloud services and cyber security options to avoid the biggest barriers to effective collaboration is crucial. Employers need to ensure that each employee is equipped with the computers they need, communication headsets, and companywide security systems to avoid malware and obtain optimal company wide performance.

Video Fatigue Is Real

In an all-remote work environment it is important to keep in mind that video fatigue is real. Employees with back-to-back Zoom, Google Hangout, or Skype meetings can lead to employee dissatisfaction and burnout. Instead, make expectations clear to all remote employees about team meetings, check-ins, and calls. Allowing employees the right to turn off their video if they feel so inclined can create a more natural and comfortable work environment. Also, keep in mind that not every meeting needs to be a video meeting. Giving employees a break and doing an audio call can help keep workers motivated and engaged.

As our current work environment shifts, making an effort to acknowledge individual workers as well as the collaborative team can fuel positive attitudes and encourage an engaging remote-first work culture. Letting go of the idea that company culture only exists inside the brick and mortar of offices and embracing optimism towards a great remote company culture will create more rewarding and satisfying lives for your employees.

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