In the “Before Times,” video calls for many American workers were a novelty—a rare occurrence you might encounter if, say, cross-country teams couldn’t get together for a presentation. Little thought was given to backgrounds or lighting, and certainly not whether your whole setup might become the subject of critique online.
But nearly a year into the world’s embrace of remote work—more than 40% of Americans now work from home. Times have changed.
In all likelihood, Zoom meetings are here to stay, even if we wind up using them less frequently than we do now. So if you haven’t yet made peace with the reality of video calls in your work life, it’s time. Inc. rounded up some of the best advice from 2020 about making Zoom calls less stressful and more effective:
Less is more. Despite not having to go anywhere for a Zoom call, it demands more energy as you strain to parse the information you’re hearing along with the few visual cues you can glean from staring at your colleagues in tiny boxes. Reconsider the humble telephone or thoughtful memo that requests responses—they might be more effective and less draining for everyone. And if a Zoom really is required, give attendees as much notice as possible.
Set up a dedicated spot and forget it. Another way to make video calls less draining is to figure out the mechanics of your Zoom setup and then, if possible, leave it set up so that you don’t have to worry about it every time you log on.
Know your responsibilities as host. In the same way that being on camera demands more of your attendees’ energy, hosting a meeting on camera demands more of you to keep people engaged. Stick to a tightly focused agenda.
Stop staring at yourself. We all do it: When the camera is on, we tend to look mostly at our own faces. Before the meeting starts, preview your video setup. Then hide your own video from your view. See the full story from Inc.