In this week’s blog, I’m going to address the thorny issue of not using cams when remote working. It seems to be a growing trend that in some organisations not using your cam is considered OK or even encouraged. I’ve recently even heard the phrase ‘cam fatigue’ being used. Oh, how we like to invent new problems!
Joking aside, there are a number of very real issues associated with not using your cam when a remote worker.
Failing to have a presence
No one would contemplate attending a meeting with a paper bag over their heads. It would be very weird, but more than that it would be quite rude, maybe even disrespectful of others, and most importantly reduce your presence in that meeting.
Pre-Covid research indicated that remote workers often didn’t get promoted as often as the office team. It seems there is a genuine challenge around, out of sight – out of mind influencing digital nomads’ careers. The received wisdom has always been to maximise your presence as a remote worker. To see your own self-promotion rather like a marketing plan that constantly has to put the brand ‘on show’.
Failure to use your cam when remote working is a massive missed opportunity to have a real presence.
Another big factor is the correlation between ‘cams on’ and contribution to a meeting. We’ve been running virtual workshops every working day through the past 9 months, and it has been abundantly obvious that people off-cam do not contribute anywhere near as much as that on-cam. This is so clear, I’ve started logging the statistics around this.
To date, I can tell you the astonishing fact is, people ‘off cam’ voluntarily contribute a massive 84% less than those on cam.
This is a huge difference. It’s a damaging difference, that can only lead to some form of marginalisation for that individual.
Raising doubts and concerns in the minds of others.
This problem tends to grow as time goes on. The more team members are invisible, the more managers and others are likely to fill the vacuum with negative thoughts! Where are they? What are they doing? Have they gone shopping or something? At the low end of the negative feeling scale, it’s likely some are at least going to be thinking, ‘They’re not engaged,’ ‘They’re doing their email’ or something.
Here’s my thought, if you have any desire at all to be someone in the workplace that is present; influential; heard; respected; valued; welcomed; appreciated and or promoted, then always use your cam in remote working situations.