Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Don't Videoconference in the Nude

I was recently speaking to one of my new colleagues about webcams and the like. He's a long-time remote worker who has always just used the phone and frequent on-site visits to get his work done. And that's well and good if you're a three hour drive away. For me that's not an option, can't say that with more clarity. I'm totally reliant on my webcam and frankly I love conducting online meetings using it. I'm new to the job and most people aren't used to working with a disembodied head just yet. The webcam inspires some level of confidence that I'm really there.

My remote working comrade was less keen on the idea of coworkers being able to see the state in which he's doing business.

I can see his point of view: what's he's been doing has been working. But maybe it's been holding him back, too. People who are concerned about a webcam being too invasive need to follow a few simple rules and avoid making big mistakes, like the ones listed in this Wall Street Journal article.

No eating. No unprofessional attire below the waist if you plan to stand up during the videoconference. Learn how to operate your software, your camera, your headset -- be sure that the mute button really works the way you expect it to. Test your connections and technology before you get started on a really important presentation.

See? You can still wear pajamas on the days when you have no meetings scheduled, and nobody can tell that you haven't brushed your teeth today.

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