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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Zfat

Hybrid Workplace: How to Adjust to the Never Normal

Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked on another task during a video call…

...Worn sweatpants below your professional-looking top…

...Or have had to ask someone to mute themselves because their background is too noisy.

Chances are, you raised your hand for at least one of those questions (if not all).

And if you're anything like me, you’re probably quite familiar (to say the least) with the world of video conferencing by now. Whether we like it or not: Video conferencing is here to stay.

In 2021, more companies than ever are transitioning to a hybrid working model – so if you haven’t perfected your video call best practices, now is the time to start.

I recently hosted a webinar for 200-something Northern Trust Wealth Management employees, presenting some of the best practices and technology that will help us succeed in a new hybrid workforce.⁣⁣ As a work-from-home advocate and veteran (10 years and going strong!), here are my top tips for stepping up your video conferencing game.

  • Smile, you’re on camera! When your main form of communication is video, you want to ensure your environment is camera-ready. Be sure you’re in a well-lit (preferably natural light), quiet room with a strong wifi connection (pro tip: always have the conferencing app on your phone as a back-up!). Be sure to dress to represent your company in simple colors and solid prints - no dizzying patterns. Center yourself in the frame with enough distance between you and the camera, and make sure your background is tidy!

  • Break through the charisma-killer that is video conferencing. DYK that 90% of people daydream on calls?! Jumping from call to call, day after day, can be mind-numbing. Create an exciting space by building a rapport, keeping the agenda interactive (I’m a big fan of a surprise poll!), and injecting some much-needed humor into the conversation! Be the person to break the ice.

  • Mind your manners. When it comes to video calls, there’s a whole new etiquette in play. First, be aware of noise. (Your typing, chewing and neighbor’s lawn mower are louder than you think.) When in doubt, hit that mute button! Another way to keep your colleagues engaged is to stay organized. Go in with a set agenda, and stick to it. Be the meeting hero, and send it ahead of the call if you can, so folks can be prepared and more likely to chime in on relevant agenda items. Oh, and if you’re going to need to share your screen, remember to organize that messy desktop and close out of your Amazon shopping cart first!

There’s a lot more where that came from. Stay tuned for more insights on the future of work here and on my social media channels!


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