The arrival of the Coronavirus forced us to start home-office, basically overnight. Our offices have moved into our homes, making us discover that many of our daily activities can be done from here: video calls, online meetings, school lessons and webinars. I myself have already done a round of 4 webinars for small and medium-sized enterprises on the topic of exports and I plan to do more in the coming days.

Having, therefore, experienced firsthand how people participate in these meetings, I will share some simple and semi-serious reflections:

  • If you participate in a webinar, don’t think that the others can’t see you; so avoid doing things you wouldn’t do in a conference room.
  • Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you should dress for home. Many meetings are still business meetings and one should present oneself as if one had to “really” meet people (at least from the waist up).
  • The lighting must be adequate. I see people in dim light – almost like a blackout in a war zone. And considering the times we are living in, this increases anxiety. Check the view before
  • Center your face in the middle of the screen but not in a close up. I’ve seen huge faces (close-ups at my age are horrible!) or webcams aimed at the forehead and the ceiling.
  • Headsets help you not hear everyday household noises: the telephone, a slamming door, someone shouting, “I’m going out shopping” (“Remember to take your permit!”), not everyone else. If you can, close the door
  • Use virtual backgrounds with caution so as to not pass off as someone with delusions of greatness (the city at my feet), or of the faux intellectual (mountains of books behind them). I prefer my studio – neat and in order, of course.

In other words, let’s not forget that working in home-office “mode” often leads us to meetings that are, in actual fact, business meetings. We’re not calling our child who works in London. It must also be pointed out, though, that bringing customers into your own homes can also help personalize a working relationship. Not a bad thing, if managed well.

So let’s welcome these new habits. Today they are essential but I believe that they will also enter into our future work habits, benefiting both traffic and, therefore, the environment.

Was the fair where you met distant customers whom you only saw once a year cancelled? A video call is a way of warming up your relationship with these customers, distributors or agents. In fact, those who study language say that non-verbal communication weighs between 30 and 50% in a conversation. A phone call with the distant customer would therefore not have the same effect as a video call. Unless we show up in pajamas.