Sunday, November 28

Closed business meetings blur the lines of privacy and professionalism

A telecom commentator says that people should change their backgrounds during Zoom, Teams or Google business meetings, but only when they feel comfortable.

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Privacy can be an issue during work-at-home meetings.
Photo: 123RF

Online meetings are now a daily routine for many people who work from home during the lockdown, and some choose to hide their appearance or blur their backgrounds.

Paul Brislen says that not doing so means that coworkers don’t know if others are paying attention and that it is good for people to know where they are and how they are presenting themselves.

That means wearing appropriate clothing and keeping your home tidy, or at least that part of your home that you see on camera.

“If you’re on a Zoom call or a Teams call or whatever version of video conferencing you’re using, turn on your cameras, let’s see what people’s backgrounds look like,” he said. Morning report.

“Put your background down and make sure everyone can see what’s going on because it’s also quite nice for meetings. I’ve been to meetings where everyone has the cameras turned off. It is not known if people are paying attention or wandering.”

He said it was a fun opportunity to show his colleagues a bit of his personal self, something he had carefully crafted.

“I have a carefully selected background. I have a home office and I have brought a small bookstore and a collection of books carefully selected to make it look smart. I have some children’s art, a little Lego Tardis so that I can interact with the young people. , all carefully chosen to make me look better than I am, “he said.

However, Brislen said she understood that people were concerned about the privacy of allowing their colleagues to see inside their homes and that personal boundaries should always be a factor when setting up a meeting.

“I feel sorry for everyone who is forced into a situation where working from home involves sitting at the kitchen table, as a colleague of mine did with three other roommates on Zoom calls, all huddled at the same time. around a small student flat. ” he said.

“It’s not easy. The curtains are always pretty good if you can get yourself up, so that you have a bit of neutrality. But I think that for meetings to have some value it means having your camera turned on, but within your guidelines, thereby you feel comfortable, that’s really important. “

For those who want to hide their backgrounds, there are a multitude of ‘wallpaper’ options to download and use. It can be subtle, sublime, or totally ridiculous.

“You can download places where you would like to be, or I have seen some corporations put up the corporate branding for staff to use in their team meetings. Or you can take your own photos,” he said.

“I’ve seen team meetings where everyone is required to wear a hat and have the most outrageous background possible, just to have a little fun and keep everyone on their toes.”

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