I love attending networking events like the UK IIBA chapter’s Brown Bag chats. Last week we had a good discussion about the value of cameras for remote calls. This article is called Cameras On, a phrase I learned from the CEO of IIBA, Delvin Fletcher. He requires all IIBA employees to always turn on their cameras for meetings. I support this policy. Here’s the benefits you are missing if you are not using your camera.
Build Relationships and Trust
We all know that in person interactions are the fastest way to get to know someone, but if you can’t be together, Cameras On is the next best thing. The human face has over 20 skeletal muscles and 20 smaller muscles which control our eating, smiling, and facial expressions. Often our face belies our thoughts faster than we even realize. Humans “read” each other’s faces and understand them better than any verbal communications. You’ll be able to show your integrity and honesty by showing that your facial expression, tone of voice, and words are all in alignment.
You’ll also develop an emotional connection with your colleagues. Smiling, laughing, enjoying your work, even frowning when you don’t like something, allows others to get to know you better – and better relationships are proven to increase productivity.
Allow Others to Know You
Some people are reluctant to turn on their camera because they don’t have a beautiful backdrop. During the pandemic we saw many celebrities’ homes, and some were beautifully staged for video. But your home or remote office doesn’t need to be perfect. Showing a bit of your personality or a personal hobby allows others to see you as a three dimensional being, not just a worker. Don’t you enjoy seeing a co-worker’s musical instruments or their photos on a wall behind them? Building relationships can also be enhanced when you show some of your vulnerabilities (like a messy space) and admit that you are not perfect. Others feel more comfortable being honest about their flaws and together you can help each other with challenges.
Does your Boss See You?
Many of us love to work remotely, but out of sight can mean out of mind. If your managers and executives never see you, how likely are they to give you desirable projects and roles? Some managers don’t like remote work because they cannot “see” what you are doing. If you want to continue being a remote worker, make sure your managers see you working. Keep your presence in their minds by keeping your Camera On.
By the way, is it too much to ask that you are dressed for business meetings? Cameras On reminds you that this is your career and you should respect the trust that has been placed in you. Would you hire someone who never showed you their face?
Encourage Others to Turn on their Cameras
Aren’t you curious about what a co-worker looks like when you have never met them? I am. But many people do not turn on their cameras, so we only have a voice (and we imagine their face). By keeping your camera on, all of the time, even on “bad hair days”, you encourage others to do the same. Be a leader by influencing others. You might be surprised how many people join you with their Cameras On!