< Back to Blog

Virtual Etiquette: The New Normal

Martina Mitchell

Virtual Etiquette: The New Normal by Martina Mitchell on May 20th, 2020

In the post COVID19 era, one thing is sure, our office norms have changed. We might not see  communal kitchen spaces, cramped meeting rooms and side by side desks but that doesn’t mean all we’ll see an end to meetings that “could” have been emails will.

Office meetings will continue to reign over our calendars thanks to conference call resources like Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. No matter what the topic, we can’t deny that face-to-face communication is necessary.

Working from home has its own challenges, but mastering the virtual meeting doesn’t have to be one of them. Here are simple principals to call-in by that will help you navigate the new norm.

Turn your Camera On 

Although we can’t be physically together, never underestimate the power of eye contact and hand gesturing – all the regular modes of communication we’re used to. Turning your video on is especially important if you the meeting host. While leading the discussion it’s up to you to move the dialogue and motivate all the attendees.

Stage your Background

Your fellow teammates are just like you, they can be curious and distracted too. By staging a clean background you can avoid distracting the masses while maintaining separation from your personal life (we don’t need to see all your cat posters) and your professional life.

The Magic of Mute 

The mute button was created for a reason so don’t be afraid to use it. Whenever you’re not speaking, turn your mute on. Although it might be subtle, a partner eating in the background, construction on the floor below you or even the taping of your pen can drown out the speaker’s voice.

Don’t Do Anything Non-Work Related 

We’ve all seen them. The infamous viral videos of people who have joined a company wide conference call, forgot they turned their camera on went to use the bathroom or picked their nose. To avoid ever getting caught, simply don’t do anything on a call that you wouldn’t go in a large meeting room. To maintain professionalism, participate as if you’re physically there.

 Stay Focused

It’s easy to pick up your cellphone, check Instagram, send one last text, or check your lunch order but staying focused during a video call is crucial. Remember there are multiple people watching their screen at any given time and they can tell when your gaze wonders off screen. Be respectful to the speaker and be attentive no matter what, you might just be called on for your input when you’re least expecting it!

Workleisure  is the New Athleisure

As much as we might want to stay in our pyjamas all day, appearances still matter. If you can put together a semi professional look from the waist up, do it. You may even find the “getting dressed” ritual makes you feel more normal and more productive.

We’re not sure how long regular virtual meetings will last, but keeping these tips in mind while video-conferencing will help you put your best foot forward in your virtual workplace, and ensure you make the right impression.