People who ask others to turn their cameras on, please stop
By - ImnotMAFVR
I think flexibility is key. What's the context of the meeting? If I'm an observer of course I'll keep my camera off and I'll be muted unless addressed. If it's a team meeting I think it's important to show engagement.
Agreed. It’s hard to present to or participate with blank screens.
This should be the top comment.
This is embarrassing to admit, but if my camera it's on, I'm probably looking at my own face and not paying as much attention to the presenter as I would otherwise. I get self-conscious and feel the need to make sure I look okay.
Omg, exactly. It’s silly to say but I was putting away some dishes the other day and I actually listened much better.
I have the opposite issue. I work off a single screen it's often on reference materials relating to the meeting, so I'm afraid I'm going to forget that I'm on camera and do something embarrassing.
Me too, me too..
>I'm probably looking at my own face and not paying as much attention to the presenter as I would otherwise.
Yes!!! I honestly feel like if I am on camera, I get too focused on looking at myself, in a weird self-conscious way. I am one of those people that focuses better while doodling on a piece of paper or doing a mundane task while listening to whats being said.
I know in Google meet which we use you can just hide your video from yourself, I never have my video on.
Lol, true lol
I totally understand, though it does get complicated. I personally rely on seeing people’s lips move when they speak to fully understand speech, so it’s nice when people have their cameras on to speak. On the flip side there’s totally been times where I absolutely do not want to be on cam.
Luckily my 4GB RAM laptop can barely run MSTeams, so not to worry for me. I just gotta keep the hot water tank topped up for the steam engine that powers this thing.
The dual core surfaces they rolled out crash if I share my screen and have my camera on, heats up like a frying pan and bricks MS teams without fault. I literally have to disable incoming video to save its soul sometimes.
Have egg salad every day for lunch and you become environmentally compliant by producing natural gas to take over from the coal fired steam engine.
Then I’ll microwave fish just because we need a regular office war crime
I’m still a fan of good old fashioned teleconferences so I could turn most bilats into walk and talks. Much more productive/engaging for me personally.
I don’t take it personnally when folks have cameras off unless it’s super obvious that they are not paying attention / working on other stuff in the background. It really sucks when you finish presenting on something that you worked hard on and have been looking forward to discussing / getting feedback on and it’s just a dark and silent sea of people who didn’t actually listen to you. Super demotivating.
I hear you on that one. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to always have my camera off for all the reasons people listed here but I often will turn on my camera when someone is presenting something. Im sure it's nice for them to see someone actively listening and reacting to their words vs being faced with a bunch of black screens.
You can still just log into an MS team meeting by dialing the number on you phone and adding the meeting code when prompted. I've done this a few times and just said I was having an issue with my camera.
Another good reason to limit time on camera is to limit overall time spent staring at your screen. It's easier to look away from the screen (or not be around a screen at all) if you aren't on camera, assuming there's not a presentation up on screen you need to follow closely.
In person meetings used to provide a break from sitting in your chair and staring at your screen. Without that option, people are looking for others.
This. Most virtual meetings, unless there's actual content on the screen, I'm leaning back in my chair with my eyes closed so I can concentrate on what other people are saying without the distraction of the screen. Don't think that's something I need to waste bandwidth showing to people.
We have a hearing impaired team member so we were asked to turn on our cameras at all meetings and raise your hand while you are speaking so she knows to look at you. Seems simple enough. But there's always that one bitch who won't then one of us has to apologize and fill in the hearing impaired member. I mean really! It's a small courtesy and part of a team. The TL has asked her over and over to turn on her camera. I just want to mute the bitch.
In the end we all have some anxiety about the camera. I get that.
Oh wow. I haven't heard about something like that before, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's happening everywhere and often. D: *Especially* when someone's said they're hard of hearing and need that to actually participate in the conversation, **turn the camera on**. It's just for those meetings, and even to do a compromise of 'Off camera when not talking, on camera if talking' would be better than what this person's doing by straight-up refusing.
Don't judge your colleague. I feel for your hearing impaired colleague too but we don't know what people go through nowadays. I've had panic attacks due to family stress and I know it's nothing compared to others.
There are good reasons to ask that at least some people have their camera turned on.
If somebody is presenting to a group, the task is far more difficult if nobody is on camera to provide visual feedback.
If the presenter gets disconnected, for example, they’d have no way of knowing that they are suddenly presenting to an empty room.
Presenting to a bunch of black squares *sucks*. It is very uncomfortable! It is for that reason that I try to keep my camera on unless they ask for it to be off.
I always think of Teams presentations like conference calls. Remember those? It’s the same feeling of talking into the abyss
Feels different, though. People are choosing to actively conceal themselves. Like we all decided to live in the universe of HBO's Watchmen.
In my opinion we should be trying to make everyone as comfortable as possible, and some people are uncomfortable being on camera. I get that some people are apparently uncomfortable presenting to no cameras, but the difference there is that you would be forcing others to do something to make yourself comfortable.
Wouldn’t people not wanting to be on camera make the presenter uncomfortable? Seems like the presenter is made uncomfortable in this scenario and must be accommodated
The difference is the non presenters are not forcing the presenter to do anything (I.E they are not asking the presenter to do something that would make them uncomfortable). Perhaps they could have someone else on the team present, or maybe find alternative ways to disseminate the information in a way that doesn't require a presentation.
I chair a bunch of meetings, and talking to myself in front of a screen in incredibly difficult. You have to add so many buffer periods for people to offer feedback. it feels incredibly awkward when you can't see the eye, mouth, and body movement of people preparing to speak.
That being said, I still don't turn mine on because I live like a Morlock in a dank cave.
I hate presenting to a black screen so much
I work in an org that has a policy of having your camera on during meetings, it's okay to have them off if you are eating, not feeling 100%, but as the default it's required.
This was a policy from before covid, we have a requirement that if one person is remote that everyone in a meeting has to bring their laptop and have the camera on to make folks feel included in the meeting.
if the meeting has more then 3 people you have to have a fully remote meeting.
Personally I find meetings work better with video on, even during presentations as it can be hard to present to a blank screen.
Agreed. I'm not asking people directly to turn on their cameras, but I advocate for having your camera on during meetings. I find people are far more checked out when they have their cameras off, it generally lends itself to a better meeting when people are visible, and people build better inter-connections just from seeing people.
Not trying to stir the pot... both opinions are valid from my perspective.
What I question is pre-WFH, no one questioned walking into the office without having their face turned off. Yet, as soon as we are asked to turn cameras on - suddenly everyone is camera shy. What is the existential difference from someone seeing your face in person to someone seeing your face on camera?
I do both. My teammates rarely use cameras. Neither bothers me. I am really curious as to why the hesitation.
I’m Black. My laptop camera doesn’t capture my expressions properly without proper lighting. I actually laughed about this with another Black public servant who has the same issue. In the workplace, this wasn’t a problem.
If I go on camera for team meetings, I have to have at least two lights on for my expressions to be visible. Those lights eventually make me hot! I had to set up a fan to try to counter the issue. So, I rather not be on camera all day. To compromise, I will go on camera for most planned meetings where I know that I will participate, but I stay off camera for impromptu meetings.
That makes a lot of sense to me. There are major drawbacks with technology. Thanks for this perspective.
So, AITA for laughing at my wife (also a public servant working from home), who is of East Indian decent (I am of Western European decent), because she literally has a full blown studio in her home office - lights, separate camera set at eye level (not the laptop cam) which is directly in front of a 40" monitor? I've been teasing her that she looks like she's hosting a game show. She's never mentioned being bothered by the joking - but, now I feel it was genuinely insensitive.
It's the teeny pang of white privilege and microaggressions: you didn't say anything horrific and you didn't even know there might be more behind it, but you're probably not the first person to say it to her and *she's* gotta jump through all these hoops just to catch up to what's 'presentable' (as set by white and light-skinned standards) but still gets clocked for that effort anyway. :/
It sucks, but at least now that you know, you can take that new perspective with you! :D
Definitely... thanks! I had assumed it was just her being a (is it) Prima Donna lol... she's always buying new dresses/shoes/makeups for looking good at work.
The camera adds 10 lbs.
Wfh added a helluva lot more to me than that my friend.
At the angle that I put my laptop to fit onto my desk, the angle of the camera is super unflattering and gives me a double chin. Plus the camera makes my hair look 100x worse no matter what I do (curly hair + blurry webcam cameras = looking like I went through a wind tunnel). In person, I am just existing in my body and it's fine. On Teams, I have the constant reminder of how bad I look in the corner.
Also, sometimes I don't want to have to clean up my entire space for a meeting in which I'm not a major participant.
Pre-WFH, we didn't walk into the office seeing our own faces.
Yeah - I like being able to check that I still look normal, but *damn*, I'd love to be able to hide myself after I peek.
I dont want people seeing my house. I find it intrusive. I find we are being asked to shut off teams backgrounds now.
What? Like they are demanding to see your WFH workspace? Cray cray.
You can blur your background if that’s a concern for you.
Uhhhhh, what? Like someone actually straight up said to you "Turn off your background, let me see your house"? 'Cause... that's kinda hard to believe.
There is no way this actually happened.
Yep absolutely happens. I have nosy coworkers
I will never turn my backgrounds off...
Sometimes I'm still in my pj's, my hair isn't brushed or I have a huge pimple growing on my face. Those are the days I try to avoid the mirror let alone a coworker look at me.
I work shift work. Sometimes I have meetings at 9 or 10 am after a night shift. You better believe I’m in bed and only woke up seconds ago. Camera off or I sign off!
It’s really hard to present something to black boxes. I get if we are sharing a PowerPoint but having to lead a meeting and with cameras on it’s easier to read the room.
If the meeting is under 25 people I try and turn my camera on. In a meeting of +75 I only turn my camera on when I have a question.
Am I the only one who misses seeing my colleagues' faces?
I don't expect their camera to be on 100% of the time, but when we have a meeting for over 1 hour long, it'd be nice to see their faces for at least 5 minutes to remember what they look like and sometimes see their human reaction to what I'm saying as some communication can be non-verbal.
I myself do not have my camera on all the time, but I try to have it on at least part of the time so that they know there's a human face behind my voice and not just some initials.
Agree with this, at least turn it on for introductions.
My rule of thumb, I have my camera when I'm speaking or when someone is speaking to me or in regard to something which concerns me directly.
For me it depends on the kind of meeting it is. If the intent of the meeting is to convey information one-way (i.e. send mode) AND the meeting is more of a "town hall" type meeting, I keep my camera off. If, however, the intent of the meeting is to collaborate, or to convey information two(or more)-ways, then I will put my camera on.
I keep it on out of respect to the organizer. Plus it’s a fair compromise for WFH.
Agreed! I went for an interview at the beginning of the pandemic and the Board decided to turn off there cameras to conserve bandwidth. Trying to convey your knowledge etc to a blank screen is very disconcerting. I think if you potentially going to provide an opinion/ desicion on what’s being presented camera should be on!
That's horrible. I think you would be fully justified asking the video to stay on so that you can read body language 2 ways.
Some people with aweful internet service struggle with video though.
I don't mind turning my camera on for larger meetings - smaller groups I leave it off.
The reason for this is that my laptop is between 2 monitors which block the laptop camera...in order to turn my camera on I have to disconnect my laptop and move it off to the side because my OCD prevents me from moving my monitors from their current perfect alignment.
Management loves the cameras on I believe for the sole reason that it warms their hearts.
I have the same placement issue with my laptop behind and between two monitors. I'm happy to turn on my camera, but I have to shift both monitors and the laptop for the camera. I've accidentally unplugged my monitor a few times from doing this and it's just generally annoying. The angle of my monitors also get changed to be very awkward. My desk is not big enough to have my laptop open with ideal camera placement all the time.
For these reasons I try to only turn on my camera for meetings with clients or managers.
Depending on the kind of meeting, it's responsible management to be able to see if the message is hitting home, that the employee is ok, and/or whether or not there needs to be a course correction in content. Not everyone is forthcoming about having understood stuff and body language is one way of figuring this out.
One way, not the only way.
I'm just glad to be part of a team that generally doesn't turn cameras on, nor does anyone ask for them to be turned on.
I never turn on my camera. I can't be bothered and no one cares.
I feel like people always expect those with anxiety/autism/aspergers/introversion to adapt to the needs of extroverts/non-neurodivergents (or whatever the terminology is).
As someone with an mental health issue I find seeing faces/in person meetings before covid to be completely over stimulating and find alot of relief being able to have virtual meetings
I feel like its fine to say that, but then what's the issue in making it known? Honestly?
For me I focus better if there are faces to look at otherwise ill drift off into la-la adhd land
But if someone said "hey I get overstimulated by a bunch of faces, so I'm gonna turn my camera off and hit the no incoming video button" and let me know, I'd be cool with it.
I also don't force people to turn their camera on, but I do like seeing people at the start of a meeting for some hellos.
I feel like there are compromises everyone can make without having to go to a default "well to be accomodating we will never use cameras" because that's just as bad as "to be accomodating we will always use cameras"
> but then what's the issue in making it known? Honestly?
Maybe I don't want to tell everyone about my condition(s)? It's great that you'd be cool with it, but stigma still exists for many conditions and issues and expecting people to out themselves every time they're struggling with something isn't right either.
Here's an example. If I had to tell my manager and entire team every time a pre-migraine headache was making me feel unwell and I wanted to turn off my camera, lower my laptop monitor, and turn the lights off to reduce the lights in my eyes, I would be scared that over time they would start to think I was telling excuses/lies to get out of being on camera, because it happens frequently.
No one said never use cameras, anyway. The topic is if someone is uncomfortable, don't poke them into it. Especially with the snarky 'guess someone didn't feel like turning on the camera today' type comments in front of all the participants. If you have a major concern about somebody who *never* turns on their camera, then the solution is for a colleague or a manager to have that discussion one on one, not try to guilt trip or shame people into it in front of an audience.
I'm not saying to give a detailed breakdown, but saying "sorry no camera today just not feeling 100%" would in a supportive environment be totally fine.
Maybe I'm in a super lucky position that my team is understanding, but I have always been open about my challenges and I've found that *most* of the time, even if it's a bit obfuscated, being open about good vs bad days without too much detail has been sufficient to get empathy and avoided snarky comments the vast majority of the time.
I understand if others aren't as comfortable as I am being open about stuff, but I do think that the way we break down stigma is by being open.
But that's me. And I also have always been careful a out where I work and who I work for because I know that I can't do work in a space where my challenges would be ignored.
For clarity, at my current team I just tell them and they roll with it (or tell me take a sick day and rest, but usually it's just a 'oop, sorry to hear it, hope you feel better!). They're lovely people, I am comfortable around them. But I've worked on several teams during the pandemic, including one where the manager did not like me, constantly checked up on me if my activity indicator turned yellow, you get the picture. In that kind of atmosphere, I would of course not be comfortable sharing my health problems.
Ah I understand better.
Yeah if I had that kind of "why is it yellow" management I can understand.
For me, I'm more expressing that in a supportive environment (which frankly I feel should be the norm but seperate conversation) we should be open.
I guess i was speaking from a bit of a "perfect world" scenario, where people are respectful at a minimum. I would.hope most are in that situation and so encouraging some openness there is I think valuable.
And even if it isn't the greatest overall environment, management should be accommodating in the formal sense of the word and let people be.
Then again that's also a scenario where managent can at least put aside their qualms and do what is legally required of them.
So much this. I never realized the impact in person interaction and lack of personal space in workplace 2.0 had on my health. I went from a bad migraine two or three times per month to once a year. I guess it's hard for someone who doesn't feel stressed by interactions to understand that for some people, just day to day stuff leads them with very real and debilitating physical symptoms.
Yea, pre-covid I was in an open concept office, very loud and overstimulating with people always walking past my desk. I would wear my personal noise cancelling headphones all day to help but it doesn't prevent people who think your desk is a revolving door and constantly come over to share their thoughts and feelings. I would feel on edge and physically ill by the end of the day. It got to the point where I had to tell my manager to help because people would ignore my requests to book a meeting if they wanted to discuss something or to just send an email/chat message. I remember once this analyst told me that it's easier for her to come over to talk to me instead of write an email. Which sure that works for her but it disrupts me, I have to completely stop what I'm doing and give her 100% of my attention and also disrupts my neighbors. Not sure if it's a generational thing or not or a personality style.
I think its just a personality thing or sometimes people who hate typing because they don't touch type so itbos genuinely easier. People who enjoy interactions get energy from it so it may be hard to understand that for others each comversation takes energy and creates stress.
What if someone gets anxiety from talking to a bunch of blank screens? It's not only neurotypical people who want to see faces.
Unfortunately Idon't have all the answers. I just share my experience
If we are promoting an inclusive workplace, then we must understand this is a viable situation.
Inclusive of humans that... don't enjoy meeting other humans? I can see the need to compromise, but "meeting and talking to humans" is not "adapting to the needs of extroverts/non-neurodivergents".
That's part of the job. What?
There are degrees of it, and its hard to explain sometimes.
I'm not autistic but I can certainly relate to some of the challenges people face as if there are \*too many\* people I quickly go from "faces help me focus" adhd brain to "too many faces, too much going on now I'm distracted by all the faces" adhd brain.
Its a different experience for autistic people but the fact of sensory overload while different is something I can relate to. And it really is hard to explain.
So for me, its not that is not something I can do, but that, it takes a \*lot\* of energy to handle when it gets to that point and also if I know its going to happen I can get anxious leading up to it and am less productive because I know I'll need that energy once the time comes.
Does that, kind of , make sense? A little?
Though I'm of the opinion that for non-giant meetings cameras on for a hello, then turn off is okay. And Turning on when being the main speaker also helps people be more engaged in your work if you're presenting formally. The option of "turn off incoming video" on teams helps a lot with that too.
Side note: the autism spectrum isn't defined by not liking other humans. It's a little different in everyone but the general issue is that there is some level of "too much stimulation can be anxiety inducing" and stimulus can be any number of things. For some people crowds aren't the issue so much as the tank being empty by the time they get to the crowd. And in social situations, the autism spectrum depending on where someone is and how it presents - it can be difficult to really get social cues, or provide the "correct" social cues. So a lot of energy needs to be spent on reading those cues (camera on or off makes no difference, subtle facial expressions might not be interpreted) and on the flipside presenting as "normal" to avoid negative social repercussions also takes a lot of energy.
Nope. No anxiety is tolerable, no stress, everyone accommodates me and don't ask me to reciprocate because that also creates anxiety.
The inclusivity paradox in a nutshell - noise from entitled people ruining it for those that actually need it.
being an introvert isnt a disability ..... wtf haha
I didn't say it was
If it bothers you that much. Just say "no thanks, I'm good."
"is that documented in policy and can I have a copy?" Then grin sheepishly with your camera off :D
My group's policy is camera on at all times. It is tiring. I am constantly looking at myself and super aware of what I look like. I wish we could turn them off.
I keep a Post-it to the side of my screen that I use to hide my own face sometimes
Agreed. No one needs a close up of my face, including me!
I can count on two fingers the amount of times I've had to turn my camera on in the past year and a half. My team never goes on camera, I don't even know what some of my co-workers look like.
Most regular meetings I attend, it's cameras off, with occasional screen sharing. In the before times, those meetings would have been conference calls with no video, with occasional screen sharing.
So really, nothing has changed.
I agree that the occasional times someone makes the "so no cameras today?" remark, it's kind of eye-roll inducing, because we rarely used the camera feature with our previous conferencing system before anyways.
I have no idea how some of the people I collaborate with regularly look like, and it doesn't bother me one bit.
>and please don't make passive aggressive "looks like I'm one of the few on camera today" comments.
Fully agree with this
Is that necessarily passive-aggressive or could it be self-conscious, too? Like "why am I on camera, should I turn this thing off and be like the others?" It may depend on tone, but it may also be awkward to stay on camera if others are using audio only.
That's also my take, I wouldn't think it's passive-agressive either.
But that would mean I need to put on clothing.
Found Will Amos
Just the waist up.
Try presenting/speaking to nine black, muted screens and tell me about feeling discomfort and anxiety. It's not just about the attendee's mental health.
Eh. I find it hard to present what's on my screen, take notes on my other screen, and simultaneously try to rotate through a bunch of little face boxes all at once. I have no problem with audio-only presentations.
Funny, we never had cameras for conference calls pre-COVID
this is true conference calls before were just voices coming from a box at the center of a large table
We did (yes, pre-covid), and moving from teleconference to videoconference tremendously helped the interactions during team meetings.
I agree it's OK to not have everyone on screen for townhall, but I we are 4-5 working together I WANT TO SEE YOUR FACES! Presenting to a black screen or trying to have a small group discussion without body language is really unnerving.
Well, I disagree. I find that with cameras on, people are more engaged and the meetings are more likely to be productive. This is super evident when taking part with outside organizations - a sea of black, no one says anything, at the end it’s like - did we even have the meeting? To be fair, some conference calls used to be like this too. It’s awkward at first seeing yourself, but by now most should be pretty used to it.
Put your shirt on!
What section of DND do you work for? 🤣
Although my camera is usually on, I too spend far too much time checking my view. Camera is off when I haven't showered and look like death warmed over. If "forced " to turn it on those days, a 👒 is always an accessory.
I've got hairties and shawls/sweaters to throw on for sudden meetings. If it's our team or a small number of people, it's generally expected that we have our cameras on.
If I'm not feeling well and thus working from bed, I keep my camera off. I'm still able to work and get things done, just not able to be on camera at that point in time.
That said, having the camera on is still expected overall, since most of my colleagues prefer being able to speak to people while seeing their faces.
I dial in on my work phone. A coworker asked why I don't turn on the camera and I said it uses too much internet data. I don't have unlimited internet, so streaming video eats up data. If I know in advance there is a big meeting or something I need to see the screen for, I will go into the office and connect there.
I manage a team and have an employee who’s face I’ve never seen because he refuses to turn his camera on and since I started with this team a few months I’m not sure if he was hired before or after the work from home directive.
To me it’s simple: if you are hired under normal circumstances you will need to show up in the office without your face being covered and talk to people and listen to them as well. So telling me you’re uncomfortable with your camera on is not an acceptable excuse. I agree that those who are observing a meeting should have camera and mic off, but team meeting and one on one bilats…. I’m gonna need to see who I’m talking to.
Having said that, I did not object to this and I let him have his way. I do this because there are waaaaaay more messed up things happening during this work from home arrangement and my time is better spent on the never ending work. Btw he is also the least productive person on the team and previous managers have been giving him actings for no reason and without additional duties. Now guess what my response was when he asked me to renew his acting??? …. And so I’m happy to announce that he has decided to move to another team!
Assuming he’s not a Robot, I find this to be extremely annoying and honestly disrespectful.
Probably not a popular opinion, but public servants sound really entitled sometimes. You're working a good, stable job with decent salary and benefits. Now you get to work remotely too, and you're complaining about having to show your face?
So because we are fortunate to have our jobs we aren’t entitled to have a preference? Makes sense.
You can prefer whatever you want, but no one owes you what you prefer. I'd prefer to be independently wealthy.
Never said they did. But we’re still entitled to have a preference and express it openly. Personally IDGAF what the public thinks. I’m a human not a robot.
Wow the entitlement of some of these comments…Yes we used to be in an office 5 days a week and attend meetings, and now we are not. Just because someone did that previously doesn’t mean they felt comfortable doing it. We have a completely different work environment now and people should be able to make their own choices, given the meeting/attendees. If someone feels not up to doing their hair one day, wearing a baggy T because it is comfy, or they have their spouse/children around but still totally capable of doing their work, they should have that ability to have their camera off. We don’t need to be visually monitored like children.
Personally I do no camera Friday for my own well-being, to have a day off from feeling viewed or pressured to look like I am in an office environment in my own home.
Your personal decisions regarding camera use should not determine others.
Whining about comfort when you have a job you get to do from home is some next level entitlement.
So, basically, if you have something good, you are never allowed to have preferences or complain about anything. I mean, why even push for salary raises or better benefits in collective agreements in the future? We should be happy with the status quo forever!
Assuming how each individual employee works from home and their circumstances is pretty entitled.
> baggy T
Do you still dress like you're in the office? I'm usually in a t shirt and underwear lmao
> and underwear
Wait, is this something we should be doing?
Team meetings, coffee breaks, note taking..no lol.
High level stakeholder meetings, basically yes from the waist up.
> Wow the entitlement of some of ~~these~~ *this* comment~~s~~
I feel like it's the equivalent of walking into a meeting with a paper bag on your head...if you can't see people, they definitely won't want to let people work from home anymore.
I don't understand the anxiety... when we were in the office, we could all see your face. Makes it easier to see people engaged in conversation and see facial cues, etc. Very frustrating when you are the only one on camera and can't see what others reactions are.
Can't agree more with you. I wonder how we can have a productive meeting when pretty much everybody can multitask and barely listen to what's being discussed. Definitely not intending to generalize but I'd be curious to see how disengaged people can be when their camera is off, which would not be possible in person.
> I don't understand the anxiety... when we were in the office, we could all see your face. Makes it easier to see people engaged in conversation and see facial cues, etc. Very frustrating when you are the only one on camera and can't see what others reactions are.
Tell me, when you're in the office.... Do you have a mirror setup at your desk so you can look at *your* face all the time?
Lol are you saying you have anxiety looking at yourself!?
I don't think there's anything wrong with asking everyone to just turn their camera on a for a second as a sort of "you are who you are supposed to be" thing.
And sometimes face to face does help, but I think that if the issue is rooted in a reason beyond "I dont want to" and is related to anxiety, if its with people you usually talk to, just tell them?
I feel like sometimes people walk on too many eggshells and are so worried about how others will react that we hide too many things sometimes.
Its okay to not want to be on camera all the time, but its also okay to like, turn it on for a quick second and then shut it back off. Or if its anxiety and never wanting to be on camera - make it kind of known and in my experience 99% of people will say "oh I understand, okay no problem I'll respect your wishes"
Look how well that went for the "I am not a cat" Lawyer.
I really don't get people that have a boner for turning their cameras on. I really do not need to see you in order to get the information or content that I am looking for in the meeting. Its adds nothing of value, if anything usually when its 8 people on camera, the feed tends to run like shit and the presenters are having to ask people to go on mute and turn off their cameras.
This might be true if your job is heavily technical, but in many jobs, people's facial reactions are part of the information we're seeking from a meeting. Anything that involves creating consensus around approaches or decisions is just much easier to do when you have richer information on what others think, and body language is part of that - voice helps but not as much as video, and of course video helps but not as much as in person.
Even technical jobs: as we are not in a perfect world, the perfect technical decision is seldom possible, you always have some risk to balance, and people's faces are really helpful to understand what risk they are comfortable with.
Someone else mentioned accessibility too: people who are hard of hearing or would just benefit from reading lips and seeing expressions.
You used to work in an office and show your face every day. Why is it so hard and anxiety inducing to turn it on? You can even blur your background, maybe shower and put on some clothes other than your PJs and you won’t feel so self conscious. It’s supposed to be a job, I doubt people in the private sector get to just say no to using their camera when they don’t want to.
I agree 100% with you. I don't understand the people who refuse to ever turn on their camera. As you said, there was no hiding while we were in the office. Also, like how difficult it is to wear a nice shirt and brush your hair once or twice a week for team/directorate meetings.
I had a coworker at the beginning of the pandemic who refused to turn on their camera. They initially said they were having technical issues with their laptop, then it changed to having bad acne, afterwards it was bad internet.
It was pretty obvious that they just refused to turn on their camera because they just didn't want to be on camera.
I'm going to start wearing a Slipknot mask during video meetings. Maybe I'll have a few different ones, depending who's presenting; Jason for the DG, Slipknot for the boss...I could introduce a crazy mask Monday for our weekly Team meeting.
You could probably do that for the background. :) But the mask wouldn't be very helpful since it'd still cover your face and expressions and limit your body language.
I pushed back when the sector wanted to see cameras on. I phrased it in the context of mental health. The sector backed down.
How does having your camera on affect mental health when you had to literally attend meetings in person before the pandemic?
There is a lot of research on this topic. A teams camera is much much different than an in-person interaction. I can't spend all days seeing myself in real meetings.
I think part of it is because people staring at cameras make it seem like people are staring directly at you, all the time, whereas in normal interactions, people avert their gaze, look elsewhere, and you lose that or it gets perceived incorrectly by our brain. In a normal meeting, there would never be that amount of staring. Cameras also make it seem like people are way closer than they normally would. In addition, seeing yourself on screen constantly messes with your brain.
Seriously. Were they calling into meetings from their office down the hall?
Most of us lost 0 wages and have had the privilege of working from home since the pandemic started. Being asked to show one’s face occasionally seems like a very minor trade off.
If you’re feeling miserable, you probably are not bothering to look your best.
If you work in environments where you are judged by your physical appearance, having the camera off is a blessing in disguise.
But those same issues were around pre-pandemic, so your reasoning doesn't make much sense. Some days, I felt sick, had a headache, or just felt 'down' but I still had to attend meetings in person.
In the context of the pandemic, mental health arguably worsened.
Comparing to how it used to be, is not entirely fair.
Here’s some research that explores these topics:
Also, there’s a stigma to mental health. I used miserable instead of depressed & my points were criticized.
> had a headache
Sure, but in the office it just meant toughing it out in a conference room which I can do. In the video call context, it means a) having the monitor light on my face shining directly into my eyes, b) having a bright light on in the room to light up the dinky webcam camera, and c) listening to bad audio feeds that makes my headache-related audio sensitivity a thousand times worse than people speaking ever did. It's a headache hell.
I've found that some people will find any excuse to not conform to norms of society.
Is using zoom a norm of society? It wasn’t before the pandemic. People have gradually adjusted. For a % of the population, mental health is a real issue that affects them.
Empathizing with others humanizes us & expands our understanding .
Pretty hard to emphasize with black boxes on a grid.
Unbelievable how sensitive people are becoming. That's on a whole new level.
I think people weren't comfortable before, even in-person, but now that we have seen alternatives, people are just not willing to settle especially when the work they are paid to do can get done just as well without them being inconvenienced. Most meetings could be emails anyway.
THANK YOU FOR THIS! we just hired a new admin and my DG was saying how he didnt like that "her camera was always off". I mentioned that perhaps she feels uncomfortable. He went on to say how it is unprofessional.... Some people just dont get it.
I usually have my camera on, but once or twice a week I wake up super tired and don't want to shower so I can rest a bit longer. My supervisor will sometimes say something like "where are you?" or "your camera is off" and I just say yeah I didn't shower sorry and that's the end of it.
What does not showering have to do with being on camera? If you were working at the office, would you call in and say "sorry didnt shower so im not gonna come in"? I really dont get it...
If I don't shower I look homeless cause I have oily hair. So I don't want to be on camera. If I'm working at the office I'm gonna shower before I go... But I don't have to with wfh
I feel you. If I don't shower, it's like I dumped a giant pot of gel in my hair.
It is rude to keep your camera off. You couldn’t hide your face in the office during a meeting. The presenter/speaker deserves to know that they have people’s attention and have some visual feedback of hope their message is landing. Obviously I mean for small-medium groups and not huge meetings.
I fully plan on hiding my face in future in person meetings - now that I have had a taste of being one of many in a faceless mass, there is no going back :) I am collecting paper bags and practicing with a strategically placed notebook. You'll know me when you see me...
Because people never zoned out or ignored a speaker before in physical meetings.
Besides, a physical meeting isn't you seeing every single face plastered inches in front of you. Completely different environment.
In a physical meeting, the attendees would be directing their attention to the presenter for the most part. In a video call they can direct their focus on anyone for literally as long as they want. Huge difference.
Reminds me of a training class where the trainer explained differences between in-person and virtual meetings and he said “I could say that I’m staring at X right now and you wouldn’t be aware of it” and X started blushing because of that.
We need to be back in the office this is going on too long.
We should make all the people who pissed and moaned about having to turn their cameras on go back first.
I think we should leave it on most of the time just to match what it would be in person. You can't hide in a face to face meeting so why would we in a teams call?
Non verbal expressions are also pretty telling, so unless I'm an observer, I'll just leave it on to show engagement. I find it difficult to create a good connection without seeing who I'm talking to.
I find myself multi-tasking a lot more when my camera is off.
I only ever ask for someone to turn their camera on when they are new and I’m the one training them. I want them to see who I am so they don’t feel “alone” at home with my voice. It’s more to just be personable/friendly. I do tell them in advance lol
Besides that, you do you. Mine is always off lol
Some people live alone. Some managers haven’t seen their team in ages. When you have meetings scheduled, you should be camera ready IMO. Talking to black squares sucks
For the unexpected calls, that’s another story.
I'm likely not wearing a shirt and I'm not putting one on unless the employer pays my shirt-on fee.
If people were at the office and the meeting invite would normally take place in person...the camera should be on.
I’ve always wanted to make a thread concerning this but was afraid of the potential backlash. Thank you! You have no idea how humiliating it is especially when someone asks you to turn it on in front of a large group of people.
People don't seem to care how you look in meetings. I am usually in my PJs and wearing a baseball hat if it's still morning. I don't mind turning it on if it's a scheduled meeting. When it's a last minute meeting and cameras need to be turned on my anxiety goes through the roof trying to adjust everything 😒
It is so sad to talk to blank screens… when we were at the office we were showing our face, why not now? I understand the anxiety issue, but in collaboration meetings we should see people