If you’re one of the many employees around the world who is now working from home as a result of the global pandemic, chances are that you’ve heard of Zoom.
Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows users to hold online meetings, webinars, conferences, and phone calls. In March, Zoom’s daily users jumped from just 10 million to more than 200 million!
According to a Reuters article, “The use of Zoom and other digital communications has soared with political parties, corporate offices, school districts, organizations, and millions across the world working from home after lockdowns were enforced to slow the spread of the coronavirus…with more than 90,000 schools across 20 countries using its video conferencing services to conduct classes remotely.”
For many, using Zoom to conduct business meetings and team collaborations is new ground, so in today’s article, we’re discussing must-know etiquette tips for more productive and respectful Zoom meetings.
Mute Background Noise
Working from home presents its own unique challenges. It’s not uncommon for team meetings to be interrupted by a crying child or a barking dog these days. Sometimes, you might even spot cameos from an employee’s spouse or another family member who also happens to be working from home. It’s important to be understanding of team members’ situations during this unprecedented time. It’s inevitable that things that wouldn’t typically happen in an office environment will most assuredly happen in a home.
Fortunately, Zoom provides a simple option to ensure any background noise in your home doesn’t affect your colleagues’ ability to hear each other during a meeting. Simply mute yourself by clicking the microphone option at the bottom of your screen, and the background noise in your home won’t be heard by any other participants.
It’s typically good practice for all team members to mute their microphones at the beginning of a meeting, and in fact, the host of the meeting has the ability to mute all participants as well. This not only mitigates the issue of background noise and feedback overpowering whoever’s speaking, but it also ensures that team members aren’t talking over each other, thus giving everyone an opportunity to share their ideas.
Show Your Smile
As Zoom is a video conferencing platform, this naturally means that a live video feed in a part of the Zoom experience. These days, pretty much every computer comes with a built-in web camera, so it’s easier than ever to show your smile in your team meetings and have as close to a face-to-face interaction as possible with your teammates.
As such, it’s considered good etiquette to always turn the video feature on when you’re in a Zoom meeting. Otherwise, you may give off the impression that though you’ve logged into Zoom, you’re not actually at your desk and therefore aren’t an active participant.
If you need to step away from your computer for whatever reason, it’s acceptable to briefly turn off your video feed. But other than that, keeping your video feed on shows that you’re focused, attentive, and engaged with the meeting. Even simple gestures such as nodding along with what a speaker is saying to show support can make a virtual meeting feel more human and productive.
Dress to Impress
Working from home does have its luxuries, of course. Many people these days are able to skip the dress codes of their respective offices and opt for more comfortable clothing. That said, your upcoming Zoom meeting is not the opportunity for you to show off your new set of pajamas or any other articles of clothing (tank tops, wrinkled shirts, etc.) that wouldn’t normally be suitable for the workplace.
Just because meetings have been relegated to virtual platforms doesn’t mean you should lax in your professionalism. Continue to dress as you typically would when clocking into the office each day. Not only will you look presentable, but the way we put ourselves together often has a direct effect on our work ethic. Feeling put-together, therefore, can help boost your confidence during a meeting and more effectively share your ideas.
Save Snacks for Later
As most know, working from home often means working more hours than you normally would in the workplace, or at the very least, working non-traditional hours as you attempt to juggle the demands of every family member’s schedule. This can sometimes mean that you’re not always able to take your much-needed lunch break right before that upcoming two-hour meeting.
It’s good etiquette not to eat during a Zoom meeting. Eating during a meeting tends to give off an air of inattentiveness and disrespect to the other meeting participant, not to mention general disrespect toward the overall meeting itself.
While taking an occasional sip of water is understandable, hold off on your meal until after the meeting. A good habit to practice is to eat a filling snack just before you’re set to jump into a Zoom conference. Some great examples are hummus, yogurt, boiled eggs, almonds, peanut butter, and fruit like apples or bananas. These will do a great job of holding you over until you can finally enjoy that delicious lunch that’s waiting for you.
For the time being, video conferencing is the new normal for team meetings. Fortunately, we live in a time where technology allows us to be more interconnected than ever—even in the age of social distancing. Using the etiquette tips above, teams can ensure that their virtual meetings are still as productive and effective as ever, while simultaneously ensuring that all team members feel respected, heard, and part of the whole.