I have never been a fan of video calling ever, except for the ones done in the course of work with the office backdrop, a perfectly dressed me and the good lighting at the workplace which makes for a perfect video call setting. In fact I feel more connected talking to colleagues based in other regions when I see them on video.
But post Corona and the forced work from home, I have hardly engaged in any video calls. The reason being a far from ideal set up at home and not the most professional appearance for a video call “me”.
The room in my house where my desktop is set up is not the one that’s most well lit but due to the plug points , the desktop had to be set up here. A limitation someone working on a desktop has to make do with. (Totally love working on a desktop specially with a 10+ hour on the job routine as its causes minimum strain to my back and neck). On the bright side, I do have a large widow which gives me a view of the world outside and makes me feel refreshed. However its far from ideal for a video call with not so flattering wardrobes in the background and the web cam imbedded in the desktop which makes it inflexible to move around to get the right angle.
And now coming to the next question- the not at all times perfectly presentable me. A big benefit of the lockdown and work from home is the flexibility of managing your schedules in ways that work for you. It has helped me regularize my fitness regime and I have been working out with utmost regularity since June. Sometimes I find myself jumping straight into my work calls post a 45 minute sweat it out session without time to freshen up. I then have my post workout bath after the call and my meals much later. I wouldn’t really want to be on a video call in this state.
Initially when the lockdown started I was in my shorts and tees , hair in a pony tail most of the time but I found dressing up boosts your morale to a great extent and I do dress up in a few of my more comfy work clothes , put on my earrings, some eye liner a few times every week. At such times I would be quite happy to have a video call but for my backdrop.
No amount of online chats, audio calling, conference calls can make up for the physicals proximity and its effectiveness but video calls do seem more effective than merely hearing the person, don’t they?
And how about people who have moved organizations during the pandemic and have never actually seen anyone whom they work with in real life? I would imagine that seeing them atleast on a video call would make the new joinees feel more connected than only hearing a voice.
As managers its time to shed our inhibitions and make that video call , not just for the sake of new joiners but I am sure everyone in the team would like to see each other once a while.
I had an experience recently of talking to a senior ED in London on a video call, it was a random pairing as a part of a virtual networking event where you are paired with someone in a different region and you chat over virtual coffee and donuts. Not a fan of donuts but I do love conversations and meeting new people. The lady started her video and I had to start mine and at the end I found the conversation was so much more effective as we could see each other’s emotions, laugh out loud as you saw the other person laughing too and it felt as if we are actually having a real conversation.
So do you find video calls more effective than just the skype audio ones, do you have inhibitions or limitations in your set up similar to mine or would you just not pay them any heed and still go ahead with that video call? Do share your thoughts in the comments, I look forward to it.