Zoom/Teams meeting etiquette

Get some plastic dinosaurs, like a toddler would play with, and deck out the Lego guys with swords and crossbows and the like and create a battle scene.

Since March, we were ordering cameras and other work-from-home equipment (more notebook computers, wired and wireless headsets, Jabra speakerphones, etc) and it’s just amazing how long the backorders are for some of this. I’m still waiting for webcams ordered at the beginning of June.

Our organization has had several people working remotely for years, so we’ve used Zoom for more than 5 years. We’re required to have our cameras on for all internal meetings. During large external meetings with presenters, however, we do turn them off.

It’s been this way for so long that I’d find it odd/antisocial if someone in one of our team meetings insisted on having their camera off. A camera off only happens when there’s something else that requires urgent attention and they go back on as soon as it’s handled.

Etiquette expert Miss Manners has offered some guidance on the Zoom meeting and other Covid-related situations.

I stopped having my camera on after seeing a replay of a seminar that I had been in. The replay showed all the participants in gallery view. I found it very disconcerting to see how obvious my reactions were to some of the BS on offer. Presumably I am no better at hiding my feelings face to face, but why temp fate.

CONGRATULATIONS !! Thank you for doing this public service-it really is a gift to your community.

We are a strictly ‘cameras on’ kind of company - we have a daily stand up with everyone at 9am (company of 30 people), and everyone is expected to be there and be visible. We’re a brand agency, so I guess being visual is part of who we are. It also helps the loneliness.

People only switch their cameras off if they’re having serious connection issues. Our clients are the same.

Does everyone find the video calls wearing? I find having to gaze intently into a camera half the day to be really tiring.

We all took our macs home back in March, so everyone is fully set-up. We also get a company allowance for office equipment - desk/chair, laptop riser etc.

I’ve been working from home for 18 years, so I have people pretty well trained: if someone asks me why my camera isn’t on, I tell them, “If I turn it on, you’ll be lucky if I’m wearing pants”. That ends that.

I also do a lot of calls while out walking in our neighborhood. A few weeks ago, while on such a call, I did turn my camera on to show folks a pack of deer. Then I forgot about it, and lowered my arm and kept walking. Someone then asked if I was being chased by aliens, as they were seeing a rockin’ and rollin’ rearview shot.

I, too, find it mostly irritating to see people’s faces on a call. That’s not what I’m there for. To me it’s the equivalent of Muzak while on hold, or maybe the interruptions to say “You’re still on hold, your call is still not important enough to us to staff reasonably”. Just let me focus on the stuff that matters.

Honestly, I can’t tell if it’s the video calls that’s wearying, or like…everything. The whole pandemic nixing everything in person has increased my workload tremendously because all the trainings that our org did in person are now recorded and I’m video-editor-in-chief, so I’m spending 3X as much time staring at videos while recording lectures and doing post-production as I do in a normal year.

At my company no one has cameras on their laptops. We’re in the defense business, so having cameras when we were in the office was considered a security risk. It probably technically is still a security risk at home. So all our meetings are audio only.

Even though there’s no video, I still wear the same clothes I would have worn to work if I were going to the office. Partly because putting on business casual clothes makes me feel more like I’m “at work”, and puts me more in the frame of mind for work. Also I feel like those clothes are being “wasted” if I let them just hang in the closet and never wear them.

More from Miss Manners: Eschew chew. Don’t do this:

I do audio only for a few reasons. One - I do have limited bandwidth. Two - I’m on a satellite dish so the latency is bad. I’m usually pretty good muting my audio, but it’s somethings a bit of a juggling act. I messed up on a meeting yesterday while trying to connect a headset to my phone.

There is one person on my team that manages to mumble and talk very fast at the same time. Drives me a bit crazy. But she is the one I other wise work closest too, to can just text/slack/email later.

I’ve done video a few times, but the only machine I have with a camera is a 13 inch laptop, so not very good with screen share . My new work from home machine has a 43" screen, I bit the bullet and bought a new workstation. My old home desktop was getting a bit long in the tooth.

If I do use the camera, I have to be careful. My home machine sits behind me on another desk. Got to make sure there are no beer cans stacked on it.

I usually get showered and dressed before starting work. But it’s the same stuff I wear whether I’m working or not. Jeans, tee-shirt and usually a pull over fleece top. I used to alternate the fleece top when going to the work office, but now don’t bother, just wash it every few days.

I discovered Zoom only in April when friend asked if I was interested. Then I asked my kids if they were interested and since April we have met once a week and of course our cameras are on, as are our mics.

The other thing I have done repeatedly now is chair PhD final exams. I had done it in person a few times a year for maybe 10 years, but now it is all on Zoom. There is a committee of five plus the student, a grad school functionary, and me, for a total of 8. The functionary mostly turns her video off, but the rest almost always leave it on, sometimes with a canned background. People turn their mics off when not speaking (or the functionary turns them off).

I am getting the second through a bluetooth connect to my stereo and I have never had a problem with feedback. In fact I have wondered how Zoom manages that, but they do.

I wear what I have worn for most of the last 50 years, at home or office: jeans and a plaid shirt most of the year; shorts and T-shirt in the summer.

For the nine years I’ve worked at my current place we’ve had various versions of business casual, with the younger and/or junior folks in jeans or shorts and t-shirts. I was always dress pants & shirts or chinos & polo shirts.

Our company has been very serious and diligent about covid so those of us who can, work from home.

We use Teams for meetings and most of us had our video on for the first while but not anything mandatory. I don’t think anyone uses video now.

Most work-days I wear jeans and polo shirts but on occasion I get lazy and spend a day in pyjamas.

Today I gave a professional training on remote work. I emphasized the importance of wearing clothes and not masturbating. I’m surprised this needs to be highlighted, but let it not be said that I failed to do so.

Document it or it didn’t happen. /s

It’s recorded, but not in the written notes.