In the coming days, the world’s most famous virus will have millions of workers doing their jobs remotely, many for the first time. There is an important human factor to consider during this stressful time – the increase in feelings of isolation and disconnection. Video messages and video conferencing are solutions that are perfectly designed to create a sense of being together with another person.
At Livewire, we’ve been moving away from phone conferencing to video conferencing. Human connection and effective communication are the reasons why. It’s just better for getting things done, and this is truer now more than ever.
I encourage any leaders reading this to be proactive about video use. When your employees don’t see most of the people they are used to seeing every day – this is hard on mental health and engagement. Be one of the faces they see today. Take this opportunity to build stronger relationships and empower your team. Dedicate time during this crisis to make sure they know you care about them, and that leaders in your organization are focused on keeping people safe as we navigate this challenge and thrive as things return to normal. Don’t just send an email – say it to them directly.
I also encourage any employees out there who will be taking part in video-conference meetings to turn your camera on, don’t just put a photo up. With everyone’s video on, you will easily see whether your team is engaged or confused, recognize when someone has a question, and all the other benefits that come from visual, human engagement versus listening to a disembodied voice that could very well be checking email or otherwise disengaged.
When it comes to audio, try to use the earphones/microphone that came with your mobile phone, plugged into your computer. It will have less of a “speaker phone echo” than if you used the build in microphone on your computer, and allow you to sound closer which further enhances the experience of being there in the same room.
It’s okay if you’re not wearing “office attire”. Being comfortable but also being connected will show that you are making the best of an unplanned situation and still striving to keep the team going, subtly acknowledging that your team is united in dealing with the barriers of remote working. I do recommend wearing pants however.
If you’re new to your company’s video conferencing software, arrange a couple of test calls with a friend/colleague, that way you won’t be stressed about fumbling with the controls and trying to connect right at the time of your meeting. To that point, try to be ready a few minutes before the meeting to respect your time and everyone else’s. Remember, it’s not like walking into a meeting room, it takes a teeny bit longer to connect and join.
We are lucky that we have this technology and can remain connected. Use it as it was meant to be used…to create a better sense of being together with another person while being remote.
Help each other, stay safe, stay included and stay healthy.
Good luck everyone…SEE you online!