I am on a screen all day every day like many people, and it’s not new anymore. Does it change the challenges of missing people, wishing we were in person or could gather together, no. It does however mean we need to treat it as a mechanism for work.
At this point, purchasing a green screen, finding a decent area for broadcast within your home or work area, having good lighting and ensuring your sound and camera work prior to a meeting should be second nature for those of us online a lot. Remembering your mute is on is an entirely different thing.
Now, many of you won’t like what I’m about to write, yet I think many leaders need to hear it. If work from home (WFH) can have its own acronym, you can turn your camera on. We all know you haven’t showered, aren’t thrilled with your background or are using the label “introvert” to hide behind your photo from a day you spiffed up for the masses. And it doesn’t work.
People can claim engagement behind their static images, but they’re not. You add nothing to the meeting, have it playing in the background while you do email, prep for something more important or some other multi-tasking justification that you can do it all at once. You can’t.
Please do yourself and us a favor. If you’re not going to be where we are, be where you need to be. Engagement during a pandemic requires participation and energy – from YOU. It’s not a consumer sport.
If you’re “zoomed out” at the end of the day, you may want to consider whether or not you showed up 100% anywhere. I’d rather people miss a meeting and get whatever they deem more important than show up pretending to pay attention and doing other things during our meeting. We all know, and it adds nothing for you or anyone else. Don’t fool yourself into thinking people care that your photo is online.
Oh, and when you ask “can you restate that?” or “will you say that again?” it confirms you’re not here. You’re tired at the end of the day because your attention is split. Be where you are, or don’t be there. We’ll all be better for it, and your energy will follow.