Video conferencing is pretty much the only futuristic thing I imagined as a child that is happening at my house. Every. Day. The future is here y’all. And if you work remotely, it has probably rocked your world.
Now, before you think I’m anti video conference, let me say that’s just not true. My daily work routine from my Alabama home includes working with teammates in Michigan, North Carolina, and one traveler, who I think is in China or Thailand right now (not sure). And we are able to see each other most days, talk through ideas and get a lot of stuff done. If you think about it, it’s really amazing. And very productive. Employers should be thrilled! And to top it all off, I am aware that I work for a company, Bandwidth, that has the network supporting a lot of these fantastic video conferencing services. So without them, I might not even have a job. Video conferencing = good.
But I digress. George Jetson is in my living room with regularly scheduled video conferences. And if you have worked remotely for well over a decade, that means the end of an era.
The end of the work-in-your-pajamas-who-needs-makeup-I-don’t-need-to-decorate-my-office era.
Introverts beware: video conferencing is here to stay. So here are my top five suggestions for making the change from being the invisible (yet productive) teammate to embracing the future. It’s time to adapt, people.
Make your home office a real office.
No, really. Go ahead and make that former nursery really look like an office. When I started my current position and found out I had a video conference on day one, I spent the weekend before frantically stripping wall paper borders and painting. Now, my office really looks like an office. And to be honest, I’m much happier spending all day in the new space. Prepping my office to be presentable on camera actually improved my working environment.
Explain the rules of engagement to others in your home
Kids at home? Spouse? Plumber? Make sure they know that if they walk into your office, they are likely to also be in the meeting. There will be missteps along the way, but everyone will eventually get the hang of it. My plumber wins the award for walking in with a sign explaining what was wrong with my pipes, so as not to interrupt a meeting. But once everyone waved and voted for how to proceed, even he’s on board. Video conferencing means keep the home office door closed.
Get your act together.
Sure, it’s nice to work in your pajamas all day. But, in reality, it’s not a bad thing to get up, get dressed and even put on makeup. (No, really). Iron those clothes! Go to Sephora! Let’s do this.
Don’t’ be afraid to (occasionally) turn the camera off.
Why would that feature exist if we aren’t supposed to use it?
Have fun with it.
If you can find one of those Olan Mills photo backdrops from the 80’s, I’m in the market for one. Wagon wheel, anyone?