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What is the ʺproper protocolʺ for video conferencing?

Deby Covey
Deby Covey Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

What is the ʺproper protocolʺ for video conferencing? Some say cameras on all the time, some say cameras for speakers only, and some say toggle on/off if you are speaking - do companies allow background changes (or are they more distracting)?

Best Answers

  • Brian Kostura
    Brian Kostura Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭
    Answer ✓

    Good question! Prior to COVID-19, as a general practice we'd ask that everyone turn their cameras on to create a more inclusive environment for onsite and remote Team Members.

    Some Teams took this practice a step further and stopped booking conference rooms altogether. So whether you were onsite or remote everyone was on equal footing. We've all had the "fun" experience of trying to contribute to a conversation when you are dialed into a conference room meeting.

    Little did we know that this latter practice would make us better prepared for today's environment.

  • CindyYoung
    CindyYoung Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭
    Answer ✓

    I have not seen any formal protocol - I think it is currently more dependent on the culture of your company. We try to show camera when presenting and everyone else is off (supposedly this helps with bandwidth) - but this is not enforced or always consistently applied; also, we laugh at background changes so we use it as a way to bring levity to what can be an awkward situation for some people.

  • StevenForth
    StevenForth Founding Partner | Expert ✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    I am not proposing a protocol, but my preference is to be able to see people, subject to bandwidth availability. Being able to see at least facial expressions and gauge reaction and attention is helpful to me.

  • Alexander Ziegler
    Alexander Ziegler Founding Member | Expert ✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    Interesting comments. In IBM we went in the past without a real protocol, but I think lots of people thought that video removes multitasking, and other just think it is more personal and helps in serious discussions. I experienced in my own team that we're always on camera in 1:1 or teamcalls (independent of homeoffice or office). I think we all enjoy seeing each other. But I also experienced in the past that the larger the meeting is or when there are people who do not know each other well there is a certain trend to not have video on. With the COVID19 situation IBMers created a pledge for working from home, and I really like it. It is including rules for video - and I think we should all respect them. Arvind made the "IBM work from hole pledge" public, you can find it on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-pledge-support-my-fellow-ibmers-working-from-home-during-krishna/?linkId=87805422


  • Deby Covey
    Deby Covey Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Fantastic - by having everyone "pledge" this is an excellent means for getting "buy-in" from workers who are new at WFH - or just new to the strange new "everything and everyone is at home" status. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Deby Covey
    Deby Covey Founding Member | Scholar ✭✭

    Thank you for the link. I personally worked remote for many years before OpenText moved me abck to an office (and can "hear" frustrations and distractions without seeing body language) - also before video was optimized and streaming was normal. I am indeed guilty of multi-tasking (and my colleagues can "hear" my typing and have asked me to mute off and just listen. I have also been in dual headset situations (2 ears, 2 meetings, but my portion is at different times) - it's hard enough to control which meeting you are currently speaking on without having to worry about video as well. Thanks everyone, I am glad for all the various responses.