Keeping the camera off during a Zoom call may feel polite, but your boss is more likely to see it as a sign that you are uninvolved.
About 92% of executives agree that employees who are frequently turned off or have their camera turned off during video calls are unlikely to have a long-term future with their company, according to a new report released Tuesday by Vyopta, a company focused on analytics . products used to enhance video and web collaboration. For the report, Wakefield Research surveyed 200 U.S. executives in companies with 500 or more employees last month.
This is because most leaders typically see this behavior as a perceived lack of commitment and a sign of poor performance in store – whether justified or not. About 43% of executives suspect that employees who are on mute or have their camera turned off during video team meetings scroll through websites or social media, while 40% believe they are texting or chatting.
The challenge of presenting a committed and work-ready image to top management is especially difficult for off-site workers. Almost all the managers surveyed (96%) thought that teleworkers are in a worse position compared to their counterparts on the ground. These workers are typically less connected and have fewer opportunities, according to the managers surveyed.
‘It’s really important to show your face’
When it comes to video conferencing, different types of conversations may deserve different setups, but overall, the best practice is to attend with your camera on, says Alexa Helms, a publicist and public speaking coach who provides Zoom etiquette training to clients. She tells Assets that she’s been to video conferences with thousands of participants, and it’s still nice to see people’s faces – especially when people ask questions or participate in some way.
“It’s really important to show your face, at least in the beginning. It shows respect and professionalism that you are there, you are awake, you are alive and you are committed, says Helms.
If it’s a big meeting and you feel your video participation will be distracting, then you can turn off your camera when the presentation or conversation starts, Helms says. But while there is certainly a lot of “Zoom fatigue” these days, employees should not assume that just being outside the camera is the right solution.
It is also worth communicating with your colleagues before turning off your camera, especially if it is a minor meeting and your absence will be noticed. “It’s nice to at least show your face the first few minutes and then say, ‘Hey, guys, you know I’m here. I’m jumping off you now so as not to become a distraction. ‘ But they at least saw you, and they know that you are there and that you are alive and awake, ”says Helms. “As long as you communicate what’s going on, people usually respect it.”
A blurred background can help
For those workers who are concerned that their field of work may not be professional enough, Helms suggests using a virtual or blurred background. “Not everyone has a beautiful home office. Many of us work in closets and crazy places, ”she says. That’s fine, but make adjustments so you can wear your camera without being embarrassed by the background.
Keeping your camera on can really build trust – something that is much needed right now. This is because despite the fact that productivity continues to grow and the profits of most companies continue to rise, only about 61% of the managers surveyed fully trust that their workers can work externally. That is a drop from 66% in 2021.
“Working from home is such a privilege and luxury,” Helms says. For those who have been lucky enough to be able to work from home, especially during the pandemic, if all your manager wants is to show your face for a few minutes so they know you are there, there is not much to demand, she says .
At some points, the expectation is the same as if you were going into the office, says Helms. Managers typically expect a certain level of professionalism, presentation and commitment, so asking employees to do it on their computer is not a big deal.
“Zoom or some kind of it will be with us in the long run,” Helms says, so employees have to think through how their actions are perceived.
This story was originally shown on Fortune.com