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Have You Discussed Video Etiquette?

I’m still surprised after a couple of years of frequent video chats, a lot of companies have yet to address something as simple as what is expected of their employees regarding video communication.

Within the last week, I’ve been in meetings where people were: lying down on their bed, wearing clothes and an appearance that looked like they came in from doing extensive yard work in high winds/rain, showing off dirty laundry or dishes (or other things that should not be seen) in the background, and, although this is a slightly different issue, showing only the very top of their head.

Note that these are not meetings with friends or happy hour or team building events or internal meetings, either. These are middle of the work-day, working meetings with individuals from various companies. From the unofficial polls I’ve taken of friends/industry peers and others, these are all common occurrences.

If your culture is very casual and there are no expectations here, that’s fine (although blurred backgrounds maybe should be encouraged . . .).

But think about it. Have you had any conversations with your staff about what you expect from video meetings? Do they know either from you or a company policy what is expected if they’re meeting with a co-worker or vendor or client (and you could have different expectations on each of those)? Have you at least addressed the idea that no competitor products should be showing (this could be embarrassing to say the least . . . )?

Often, the issue with employee problems can be traced back to communication. If you have not clearly laid out expectations, how can they know?

Company cultures certainly differ and what works for you and your company is likely different from what works at other places. Have you thought about how you want your staff to represent you and your organization? And are you keeping that a secret or are you giving them concrete guidance regarding your preferences?

Remember, providing clear information and expectations can reduce poor assumptions.

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