Turn On or Off: How Should You Use Zoom at Work

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We are going to give you some definitive answers about how you’re supposed to use Zoom at work. 

It’s more than a year now, but video conferencing etiquette is still not clear to many. Confusions and questions mainly revolve around video meetings, muting/unmuting your mic, and the color of your status.

For HR managers, this is turning out to be their biggest challenge. First, they enable everyone with the right equipment that promises a lag-free virtual interaction. Second, they repeatedly train employees on virtual conferencing etiquette. And third, they have to personally reach out to each individual who is still not able to do it right.

The coronavirus pandemic seems to be never ending, which means video meetings are here to stay. Therefore, we need to straighten this out and learn the etiquette of a proper virtual meeting. 

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When it is okay to turn your video off

Workplace interactions happening via Zoom are stirring various kinds of debate, such as eating during meetings, family members appearing frequently, etc. But the most popular one is whether to be on video or not when using Zoom at work.

The question of whether or not you are supposed to turn on your camera during a virtual meeting has many gray areas. 

In general context, you should always be on video if it is a video call. 

“Internal staff meetings, where the entire company is present, should always require the team to use video feed in order to make everyone feel more connected and encourage active engagement and participation in the discussion,” says the founder of Airzai, a tech startup. 

For those who are still looking for valid reasons to come on video: it primarily depends on the context of your meeting, agenda, and the level of your participation. 

Keeping video on during all sorts of meetings fosters connectivity, especially when working remote. It lets others know that you are really there and value the ongoing conversation.

In case of poor connectivity or low-end devices that don’t support high-definition picture quality, you can choose to turn off the video. Another scenario could be separate time zones where you are interacting with someone at the opposite end of the globe. If it’s too late or early, it is understandable why you are not on video. 

There is also room for flexibility if you are going for a quick check-on with your fellow colleagues and the meeting lasts hardly a minute or two.

When to turn off your status from green

Always keep your status green during official hours, but remember to turn it off after. 

When working remotely, Status becomes a signifier of your arrival and departure, just like a biometrics device in your real office. It sends the message to your dependants whether you are available or not at any specific time of the day. 

Using the three zoom status colors – green, grey, red –  correctly ensures professionalism and efficient communication. 

When to turn on/off your mic

Again, it entirely depends on the content of the meeting and your level of participation. 

For townhall, all-hands, and other organization-wide meetings, there are generally 3 scenarios:

    1. When you are a presenter: As a rule of thumb, your mic stays on
    2. When you are a speaker: You can put your mic on mute until it is your turn to speak
    3. If your role is that of an attendee: Always put your mic on mute unless the floor is open for questions and you have one

To enable smoother conversations during team meetings and other casual conversations, it depends entirely on your discretion or that of your managers’.



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