Camera or no camera for video meetings?


The upside (we think), post pandemic, is that remote work environments are more prevalent than ever. In fact, it is pretty much expected now that any office style position that does not require a physical presence to do the job will at a minimum be a hybrid role that does not require 40 hours a week of physically being in the office.

The rise of video meeting products combined with video meetings being more widely accepted raises some questions about the effectiveness of remote work. Is e-meeting someone on camera really the same thing?

Facial cues and expression are an important part of verbal communication. Face to face communication provides for a much different experience than text, email or even just voice interaction. Facial cues help improve communication as they support and enhance tone of voice and improve trust between parties.

In other words, it is important if you are not having in person meetings, to ensure that your virtual meetings include face to face connection.

In a recent survey by Entrepreneur Magazine, it was noted that most survey respondents reported feeling more engaged in a virtual meeting with cameras being on.

So if more engagement, higher levels of trust and improved communication are all benefits of having your camera on during virtual meetings, why would we consider turning them off?

Even with the majority of respondents saying they felt more engaged, concerns about privacy, background environments, pressures of appearance and anxiety about being on camera also arose for some individuals. Firms may specifically want to consider privacy and background environments before allowing their team members to conduct video meetings from home.

A client may not feel as comfortable divulging sensitive financial information when they don’t know who is necessarily walking around in the background.

Regardless of your firm’s stance on video meetings, it is unlikely that this particular avenue for conducting business is going anywhere. Firms should instead consider writing standard operating procedures for video meeting conduct:

  • Is a dress code recommended?
  • Is a blurred background or noise cancelling headphones required in order to protect the client’s privacy as well as your staff member’s home environment?
  • Do video meetings need to be strictly conducted in the office?

Setting some clear guidelines for video meetings can allow for your team to maintain flexibility in their work schedules while continuing to serve clients without gray area in terms of conduct. It may also be worthwhile to check with your liability insurance and IT teams to ensure that work outside of the office and especially video conferencing software is secure and covered to protect sensitive information.

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