Viewing 40 posts - 121 through 160 (of 168 total)
  • Q for managers out there – screens on mandate or no?
  • Premier Icon Aidy
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    Is this really just me? Why do you all put up with this crap?


    Premier Icon markgraylish
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    Is this really just me? Why do you all put up with this crap?

    If you were asking me, no, I don’t put up with “this crap”. My house, my rules and if I don’t want the camera on, it ain’t going on, end of.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
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    Premier Icon hels
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    I think it depends on the meeting. Small team 15 minute stand up? It’s just rude, and whether being rude to your colleagues bothers you is your call.

    Larger meetings where you are there for the information and don’t need to contribute much then cameras off is I think acceptable.

    Colleagues who flat refuse to switch camera on in any meeting, that is a power and control move and needs a private and diplomatic chat not a mandate that will dig them in further.

    IME the cameras off people are the 7 fag breaks a day on company time people, can’t change them, build a team around or preferably without them.

    Premier Icon TheBrick
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    Small team 15 minute stand up? It’s just rude,

    It’s rude because you choose to take offense, so it’s your reaction that makes it rude to you. Your responsibility. It’s a passive act that you have chosen to take offense to .

    Premier Icon militantmandy
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    face to face meeting so what’s the difference

    Face to face meetings don’t typically occur in your kitchen.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
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    I just don’t see what benefit cameras on actually gives. 95% of the time the video is distracting crap quality and often detracts from actually following what someone is saying (when it freezes or someone walks past them etc. and your attention it drawn to that rather than what they’re actually saying).

    I started off not using a camera as my laptop lid is always closed (I use it with two external monitors) and no chance was I buying an external camera. At the start of the first lockdown people I work with used cameras quite a often but I’m glad to say over the last 18+ months usage has dropped off and is now mostly limited to the senior management team using one when chairing meetings (but thankfully there’s been no ridiculous directive everyone should use them).

    Only time I’d insist someone had their camera on was during a job interview, I did one last week and the guy coincidentally had technical issues with his camera when it came to the technical questions section – we could still hear him typing/googling though…

    Premier Icon hels
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    No – it is rude because the no camera person is being rude, it is quite an aggressive action in interactions with colleagues when there are good reasons not to (camera issues and backgrounds notwithstanding). To say it is everyone else’s fault due to their perception of the behaviour is ridiculous and can justify all kinds of obnoxious behaviour and speaks to the “nothing is ever my fault they are bullying me” mindset that never takes responsibility for self and consequences of own actions.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    It’s rude because you choose to take offense,

    Very much this.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    The one that gets me is people refusing to say “hello” or “goidbye” at the start or end of the day in the Teams chat.

    Just let me know if you are logged on. Don’t make me try and decipher the Teams availability button which you default to busy all the time, or check your Outlook calendar that you never update to see if you are free for me to ask you something.

    If you walked into an office and refused to acknowledge your team members we’d all assume you were a rude and ignorant ****. Fine if you want to be edgy in the WFH world, but bear in mind there’s no such thing as a wrong perception.

    Premier Icon thepurist
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    it is rude because the no camera person is being rude,

    So when people talk on the phone, you know the thing with voice comms that served many of us perfectly well for decades, they are all being rude? Nope, still don’t get it.

    Premier Icon bazzer
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    None of us have camera’s on in meetings, just adds nothing. We are often sharing screens though and that’s where the value is.

    As someone mentioned earlier it does seem like directors and management like to turn on their cameras for some reason. Its more important for people to mute their audio so we don’t have to listen to their dog barking or the workman outside.

    Problem with meeting engagement is generally the meeting, not the people.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    The fatiguing effects of camera use in virtual meetings: A within-person field experiment

    Having to demonstrate that you are paying attention by having your camera on takes more effort – no shit Sherlock!

    But if you feel like you are already respected and have a good working relationship with your colleagues then the effects aren’t as bad

    So mandating the use of cameras with a team that is underperforming might just make matters worse.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    I just don’t see what benefit cameras on actually gives

    just adds nothing.

    Explained in some detail within “Digital Minimisation” by Cal Newport. Essentially visual communication is a core part of human interaction and is not only desirable but essential for Brain and sociological development. Doing it by video is advantageous but fatiguing because we can’t see in all the dimensions, so our brain is stressed by interpreting the image we see, albeit less stressed than trying to communicate by voice alone.

    Premier Icon Rich_s
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    Haven’t read through the whole thread, but I’m a contractor delivering training. Not been face to face for nearly a couple of years now. 3-6 hours of PowerPoint based training, also MS Ink, and “interacting” with my delegates.

    It’s been interesting that most groups have gone from mostly camera on to nearly all camera off. Those who I’ve previously training face to face often do keep their’s on. New groups whom I’ve never “met” basically don’t bother. I’ve been working with one new group at Cert CII level (level 3, AS) where I’ve ended up being their only trainer for 7 consecutive 3 hour sessions over 2 months. Building “rapport” with them has been tough. Very tough. Normally they’re like putty in my hands after a session or two 😜 but it’s taken the whole set of workshops to drag some of them to “chatting” with me – the turning point was when one of them laughingly accused me of not knowing the difference between Lithuania and Belarus (!).
    There’s seemingly a reluctance at corporate level to mandate cameras and my principals don’t put it in our joining instructions either. But it has a negative impact, I have no doubt about that.
    And I’ve no particular problem with people doing proper work while I’m delivering stuff; I often cheat doing e-learning to be more productive. But when I’m doing level 6 (degree) the subtleties need learners to be engaged, so if I ask a general question or direct a question at a particular delegate it’s vital that they are switched on. Otherwise we end up finding out if they are there, asking it again, explaining, which affects the rest of the group. If I’m in the room with them, I know what they are doing so cameras are very, very important.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
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    People only turn their camera on if they want you to see their bookshelves.

    1-1 to me it’s the same as a phone call, and I tend not to be able to stare peopeople in the eye during those.

    Meetings, TBH if there’s not a presentation or a spreadsheet or something to be shared and discussed, rather than a co-worker’s mug then it’s probably not such an important meeting… (IMO).

    Premier Icon Jason
    Free Member

    Interesting topic!

    I hadn’t really given this any thought before. The company I work for has a culture of cameras on in meetings, there hasn’t been any mandate on it, it is just what people do and I can’t recall anyone questioning it. As a business I like to think we have a friendly culture and seeing your colleagues face to face seems to help with that. I manage a sales team of remote workers and it has been good for colleagues to get to know each other a bit better. All the other sectors of our business seem to operate in the same way with cameras on by default. Anyone who doesn’t want there real life background showing just uses a virtual background. It is only in large seminar style meetings where the message is to turn cameras off. I regularly chair meetings for my team and find it much better when I can see peoples faces to see they are picking up on the key points, if I am presenting and can’t see peoples faces it is harder to see their engagement.

    Dress code has been an interesting one. Typically office dress code is shirts and no ties. At the start people seemed to match this dress code in Teams calls, but fairly quickly this disappeared, so most people I have meetings with are casually dressed – which seems far better. The exception would be customer calls when we expect the sales team to be slightly smarter dressed.

    Premier Icon Neil_Bolton
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    On a side but related note.

    During a teams call does anyone run a sub chat window where you message other people in the call and try to distract them/ stir up some bickering/ get them to laugh, comment on their backgrounds etc and generally take the piss?

    Yes, but its very VERY dangerous as someone else already mentioned.

    I have made this mistake, early on in my corp career, on a global Microsoft call with MSFT execs with top global partners only and I was having a side chat with my boss as well as listening into this call…

    At the time, Microsoft was going through some channel changes that weren’t being managed well and go-to-market support from MSFT (GTM) was a big challenge (especially for us at our org which was the largest telco globally at that time).

    However, during this discussion about GTM with my boss, whom he and I were very comfortable with frank, often sweary conversations (we were friends before I joined), I mentioned that “Microsoft were massively shit”.

    Only I had typed that into the main global call window, with the top ten global partners present, several general managers from MS and a whole bunch of great MSFT guys. The presenter stumbled, managed to ask politely that the audience refrain from profanity, and then carried on. I sh@t my pants, my boss asked wtf I was doing and whether I was looking for a P45 and I had to do one huge round of profuse apologetic calls immediately after the call ended.

    Luckily, MSFT and the general managers knew me and we had a good relationship and we turned it into a positive, having a good laugh about it and actually sitting down and asking ‘why’ they were sh1t.

    I survived, but I never ever lived it down in Vodafone and went all the way up to director level and my name was sullied from that day on.

    A very tough lesson learned.

    As a manager I am surprised you aren’t trained with regard to labour law and human rights law and the right to privacy. Lots of reasons not to be on camera including bandwidth, own privacy, children in the house, have they been given a camera by your organisation? But the main reason may just be that the meetings are not perceived as efficient use of their time. I understand it’s frustrating if people are multitasking. That’s up to the manager to make the meetings efficient and useful for everyone involved.

    This is probably the most sensible reply so far; the children point especially so – especially when schools are shut. Privacy is a very VERY prickly HR subject, with constructive dismissal cases galore around because of it. If you work with colleagues in Germany, for example, there are several incredibly fiercely protected rules around webcam use – so this reply makes some serious sense. I would probably be seeking HR advice before any ‘mandating’ happens.

    Premier Icon Houns
    Full Member

    Nothing of use to add, but I’m currently sat outdoors and have just been watching a buzzard 2 metres away swoop down to catch and eat it’s breakfast….. The snowdrops are popping up around me, I’ve a couple of trees to fell. Yes I may earn a pittance but at least I don’t have to put up with all this crap you lot do!

    It’d be a firm cameras off from me

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Seeking HR advice is a very good point and I think if I were in the position the OP is in I would also be looking to have a discussion with another manager at a similar level or my boss to check that the route I wanted to go down makes sense

    To me this is a situation whereby there may well be unwanted secondary effects ie putting folks back up and ending up with malicious compliance or more unhappy employees

    Premier Icon HoratioHufnagel
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    I think some people are just shy or lack confidence! Especially in programming jobs and things, where I think it’s fair to say more than an average number of people are on the autism spectrum. That doesn’t mean they can’t work very well.

    And webcams just don’t work very well. You can’t make eye contact, there’s lag in the video, it’s not big enough to make out body language well. It’s not the same as meeting in person.

    I rarely switch mine on any more. I’ve read the entire thread, and I’ve still not understood a good reason to do so.

    Also, I doubt a lack of engagement in meetings will be solved by webcams.
    You need to talk to people to find out why they aren’t engaged.

    Premier Icon oikeith
    Full Member

    OP, before you mandate cameras on have you spoken to them about why the cameras are off?

    IMO 3 x 30 mins a week is excessive pending on what the purpose of the call is, for individuals to give updates on pieces of important work fine, for a chinwag thats too much IMO.

    Teams or other software is a pale imitation of being in a room/space together, you cant chat as freely, conversations which would have spanned a day cant be crammed into shorter group calls.

    The other thing that is annoying about Teams calls is, the chair doesn’t have the same grip on the calls as if they were face to face, people that love hearing their voice will continue to speak and this will block others from voicing up and also lose interest. @rich_s I did a training course recently where this happened and after session 1 went camera off for the following 5 sessions.

    WFH more during the pandemic has shown me that the relationships I had in the office weren’t as valuable to me or others as I thought when in the office, I simply no longer have anything to chat to these people about or any office gossip to spread!

    Premier Icon b230ftw
    Free Member

    I think in my work it’s about right. We have daily meetings first thing in the morning and we don’t have to have cameras for that as it’s just data and organisation for day stuff. If we have any other meetings where we are being more personal and need engagement most meeting leaders will ask people to put their cameras on for a few minutes then say people can turn them off after 5-10 minutes if it’s a longer meeting.
    If I’m having a meeting one to one with my manager I have my camera on – I would expect the same in my previous manager role.

    I started this new job in lockdown and the one thing that really annoys me is people who make a fuss about having cameras on. For crying out loud all I’ll be able to see is your face and probably a cream wall with a picture on it behind you. It really helps me to see your face and it’s just plain rude not to turn it on when asked – and if say you’re not dressed properly or something just explain that and that’s fine – we are all generally working the same way at home now and know people might be in pyjamas and be unshaven etc.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    I think some people are just shy or lack confidence! Especially in programming jobs and things, where I think it’s fair to say more than an average number of people are on the autism spectrum. That doesn’t mean they can’t work very well.

    It would be fascinating to know whether cameras on/off opinions align with introverted and extraverted personality traits. And whether the “off” enthusiasts are mostly working in IT.

    Premier Icon grum
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    Can we start insisting on HD webcams and quality lighting, and stands to bring the laptop to an appropriate height next then? Plus a decent WiFi connection and maximum distance from the router.

    I’m a photographer and staring at someone’s grainy badly lit shot of the underside of their chin/face is genuinely off-putting/distracting.

    Premier Icon munrobiker
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    It’s a generational thing I think. My generation (millenials) seem much happier not to see each other if we don’t have to. I’m the youngest person in my company, everyone else is in their late forties or fifties and they seem to want to talk all the time about nothing important, phone up to ask for validation of their thoughts even when they know the answer and are keen to get back to the office. I think my generation just prefers to get down to business without all the touchy feely seeing and validating each other stuff.

    I think a mandate is a bit daft. People aren’t necessarily comfortable with people seeing their homes, seeing into other peoples homes or being looked at if they don’t have to be. Treat it as a phone call, which is what it is. Telling them “I don’t trust you, you have to turn your camera on” is not going to help.

    Premier Icon ransos
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    This is an interesting thread. There’s no mandate in my organisation but the culture is generally “cameras on”. My take is that it depends on the meeting. 121s and small team/ project meetings are replacing face to face, and it’s often quite helpful to have visual cues from my staff, particularly if I’m asking them to do something and I want to know if they’re comfortable with it. I see much less point of cameras in larger meetings/ presentations – the images are too small to see how your presentation is being received and it can be a distraction. I think the “seeing your home” thing is largely bogus, as it’s easy enough to blur out the background.

    Premier Icon PhilO
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    When you all worked in the office did you sit there with bags over your heads?

    Not bags, no. But yes to ear-defenders to block out the chatter and to safety glasses adapted to form blinkers and cut down on the visual distractions.

    Like others here, I’ve WFH for about 10 years but it was something forced on me by my employer moving to Open Plan. I hate working from home, but I hate being constantly distracted and at risk of distracting others far more. The last thing want or need is to import those conditions into my own home and I’ll only use the camera for very small meeting. And then it’s out of politeness, not because I want to or gain any benefit from it.

    Saying that it’s important for team cohesion seems to me to be the height of arrogance. Why assume that the conditions you prefer are automatically going to benefit everybody else? We’re all adults, and capable of making our own decisions.

    Premier Icon Superficial
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    It’s an interesting question.

    I had to chair some online group discussions for university students. I had three groups of students each week for a few months. The groups settled into their own routines quite quickly: Group 1 were cameras on, all the time. Group 2 was cameras on if speaking, but mostly off. Group 3 were cameras off.

    I absolutely hated chairing group 3. None of them wanted to talk, you’d never know if they were present or not (on at least one occasion, I asked a direct question to someone who clearly wasn’t there). It was like pulling teeth. It made all the potential problems of poor engagement so much worse.

    Clearly lecturer vs students is a different power dynamic to an office of colleagues, though.

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    it’s easy enough to blur out the background.

    I’ve only had a quick play with this (cameras are disabled by policy on works pc/phones) – it only works with a static background. I found it amusing that the ‘fireworks over the Thames’ vista that I appeared against suddenly included my dressing-gown clad daughter and the spontaneous appearance of a large, open fridge door! 😀

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    No – it is rude because the no camera person is being rude, it is quite an aggressive action in interactions with colleagues

    WTAF – I’m glad I don’t work with people that would take offense at such trivial things. Aggressive? LOL!

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    <clears throat> ‘Offence’. That’s all.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    If you were asking me, no, I don’t put up with “this crap”. My house, my rules and if I don’t want the camera on, it ain’t going on, end of.

    Wasn’t directed at anyone personally. I just find it weird that anyone would care sufficiently to start mandating webcams, and despite protestations from some quarters no-one’s come up with a reason why they’re necessary beyond “it’s rude.” Well, boo hoo. How did y’all cope when we just had phones, drive the length of the country for a 30 minute meeting?

    Colleagues who flat refuse to switch camera on in any meeting, that is a power and control move and needs a private and diplomatic chat


    A “private and diplomatic chat” sounds far more like a power and control move to me than anything relating to a webcam.

    it is quite an aggressive action in interactions with colleagues when there are good reasons not to

    Name one.

    I could perhaps understand it in a “getting to know you” phase of a working relationship. But I’ve worked with the same team unchanged for North of three years, the last time I saw my networky counterpart was at a conference pre-covid and I don’t think I’ve ever seen my boss face-to-face since he became my boss. No-one cares, it simply doesn’t matter. It’s an outmoded “but we’ve always done it this way” working practice just like…

    Dress code has been an interesting one. Typically office dress code is shirts and no ties.

    … dress codes. Does wearing a shirt help you file accounts more effectively? It’s pointless enough in a non-customer-facing office, expecting a dress code from home workers is plain stupid.

    I once worked in an office where the male dress code was a full business suit. Not only did it serve no purpose but it was actively dangerous (and expensive), that’s totally what I want to be wearing when I’m running cables under desks.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    I think my generation just prefers to get down to business

    Give over! 😀 That’s not a flavour of Millennial that I recognise…

    Toss it off endlessly ‘cos I’m soooo exhausted’ and messing about with phones. Now that I recognise 🙂

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    For me ( and I have never worked in this sort of environment thank goodness) before you go charging in with a mandate to always have cameras on a polite discussion with each staff member asking why they do not want their cameras on could be useful but be prepared for answers you will not like.  People may have perfectly good reasons or they may not.
    Then you need to establish what your aims are in making sure cameras are on and to decide if that aim is met by having cameras on

    Are you new to managing at that level?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    Most people in my work turn them off. Rarely are they on. If you just sit in the meeting and don’t contribute, it’s noticed. Generally we don’t invite people without a reason, i.e. they have a job to do on the project.

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    If the meeting is big enough that not all participants can be seen at once on video, we switch off. Saves bandwidth. 1-1’s are always on.

    Premier Icon bensales
    Free Member

    My org (global IT services company with 300k employees) has a published statement of cameras being a choice as “we’re being invited into your home” which is pretty reasonable. Most people seem to have them on for 1-2-1 or small groups, but off for larger groups. We also have corporate branded backgrounds we can use if we don’t want to blur. These are actually pretty good when doing client facing work as you can put your job title and role on them.

    I did get called out by one client for not having my camera on during an all-hands call of around 100 people. I pointed out that the laptop his company had issued me wasn’t capable of running video and camera when there were that many attendees…

    The one that gets me is people refusing to say “hello” or “goidbye” at the start or end of the day in the Teams chat.

    Sod that. I’ve got around 100 active channels in Teams, and probably 30-40 chats on the go with either individuals or groups. I’m not saying ‘morning’ and ‘evening’ to every bloody one. If my status is ‘busy’ or ‘available‘ then I’m present, if it says ‘away’, I’m away.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Free Member

    How did y’all cope when we just had phones, drive the length of the country for a 30 minute meeting?

    Yeah, but phones are a pretty crap way of meeting. So why replicate it?

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    Are you new to managing at that level?

    I’m sure this was meant as a friendly honest open question… but it just made me laugh out loud.

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