Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Back when the pandemic was new, I published 7 Simple Rules for Videoconferences, based on my experience with a small hybrid (remote and in-office) team. Check out the whole post at the link, but as a reminder, the seven rules were:

  1. Everyone has to use their camera
  2. Use one camera per participant
  3. Select the tiled display of participants when possible
  4. Use headphones
  5. Leave your camera on if you step out
  6. Display the agenda and notes
  7. Have each speaker select the next speaker (for round robins/report-outs)

A year and a half later, I still stand by all of these rules, with one exception: Rule #1. To my credit, I wrote that there were exceptions to the “always on camera” rule in my original post, but I wasn’t quite as forgiving in March 2020 as I am now.

Often, I am on camera from the second I start my day to the very last minute of it. While I’m fairly comfortable with this, there’s no denying that it can be extraordinarily draining, especially when you’re the one running the meetings or are expected to contribute a fair amount to discussions. Some days, by the end of the day, my lifeblood has been drained by my Google Meet performances and I simply cannot.

So, instead of rudely closing my eyes and laying my head on my desk for all to see, I have given myself to permission to turn off my camera and not worry about how I’m holding my face. (Of course, I have to be strategic about the meetings in which I allow myself to this, but it is a helpful practice.)

How about you? Have you gotten more forgiving about remote work practices for yourself or your colleagues? And what do you to recharge when you have to be camera-ready for longer than you’d like?

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