Over the last month, we have been placed in a situation which requires us to make some major changes in both our professional and business lives. If you’re working at home, you might feel demotivated at times but it’s important to be grateful that your company can still survive in a virtual environment. Video calls are being used worldwide between companies to hold meetings and conferences, they are a great way of connecting and motivating employees through targeted engagement.
If this is the first time you’ve worked from your home space, it can be quite daunting to have professional work meetings whilst being based in a leisurely environment. It is important to be professional and not get caught in the trap of being laid back. Treat each video call as a meeting in the office. Appearance, hygiene and punctuality is still important to help you maintain office professionalism at home. Here are 7 tips you need to know to make the right impression:
1. Test your technology
If your technology is having issues during your meeting, it can be quite embarrassing. Therefore, it is very important to test out your connection and internet strength beforehand to avoid any screen freezes and audio problems. You should log into the meeting 10 minutes before the start to ensure you’re ready, this way you can join the meeting successfully and test you webcam, Wi-Fi and any screen-sharing tools that you’ve planned to use.
2. Dress appropriately
Although the benefits to working from home include wearing comfortable clothing, you should put in extra effort when you have a meeting scheduled. At the very least make sure you look professional from the waist up. Dressing up not only looks visibly better, it can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional state, making you feel confident and productive.
3. Limit distractions
Distractions are everywhere, especially in your homes. Before any meeting it is important to remove them all where possible. This also includes any background noise which has the potential to distract co-workers. Of course, in these circumstances some elements can’t be avoided so it is best to be upfront with those in your meeting. Let them know that your children are in the next room so you might hear them or that your pets could wander at any moment. This will reduce your need to apologise or clarify mid-meetings and chances are, people in your call are experiencing the same thing.
4. Avoid the bathroom
This might be an obvious point, but it is surprising how many people do things in their subconscious when they are attending a meeting virtually. Many disaster moments have been shared virally when people have taken their meeting to the bathroom without properly muting themselves or turning the camera off. Excuse yourself as you would in a physical meeting, and if you’re only dressed from the top up, be careful not to show everyone what you’re really wearing when you go to get up.
5. Have the right lighting
If your environment has poor lighting, this can have a big effect on the video quality. Make sure there is enough light in the video, so you are clearly visible, and your screen isn’t grainy. Try to avoid placing any light below your face as this can be distracting for your colleagues, if possible, light your face from the sides. Avoid mixing natural lighting with office lighting as this can look superimposed.
6. Look into the camera
A mistake which is made by many is looking at the video on screen as opposed to the camera. This appears as you are distracted and not paying attention resulting in looking unprofessional. Looking into the camera lens is the same as looking someone in the eye when they are talking so try and practise until you feel comfortable to do so.
7. Undivided attention
During video calls, it is tempting to check your emails or carry on working on a presentation, this not only detracts your full attention away from the conversation, it also looks rude. Multitasking is popular amongst many people, but everything can wait till after the meeting, you don’t want to look lost when someone directs a question to you, but you haven’t paid attention to the last 10 minutes of the call.