While the rules are somewhat more relaxed if the video call is social rather than professional in nature:
- It’s hard to tell on a video call if someone is looking at you, someone else or just absent-mindedly browsing his or her inbox.
- Any cross-talk soon renders conversation impossible. To avoid this, the simplest thing to do is to use a system of hand-raising; some video apps have a function to do this digitally, or you can just raise a finger to the camera.
- Setting a clear agenda for the call, which is always good meeting etiquette, is even more important.
- Someone, however informally, as the call leader whose job it is to make sure everyone has a chance to speak. You could start, for example, by taking turns to update one another on what you have been doing before allowing the conversation to flow more freely.
- One important point of etiquette around video calls is the mute button: Use it frequently, and use it wisely. In a larger call of, say, more than five people, you should always mute your microphone when not actually speaking to prevent the discussion from being overwhelmed by a cacophony of background noise. Just remember to click the button again before you next speak, or else endure the shame of that now well-worn chant: “You’re on mute!”
- This is not a good proxy for measuring productivity and can, in fact, be detrimental to getting real work done. In the current situation, the idea of enforcing strict 9-to-5 hours seems unnecessary and lacking in empathy.
- Many workers now also find themselves caring for children or relatives, not to mention dealing with the general stress of a deadly pandemic and the psychological impact of lockdown.
- Where sending a work email outside of business hours may once have been considered poor etiquette, it is now acceptable, given the circumstances — just make clear that you don’t expect an immediate response.
Maintaining work-life balance
- This has been difficult for many workers, especially as lockdown drags on, but in some respects it may be good to let the lines between our work and personal lives blur.
- You may not have realized how many of your social interactions previously happened in the office; take the time to check in on your colleagues, rather than just checking up on them.
- Stay close (from a distance) – Just because you can’t visit people in person doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. In fact, you should make more of an effort to do so.
- Arranging digital meet-ups requires more planning, which can be tiring. If you’re frequently making video calls and using instant messaging for work and with friends, it’s a good idea to put short breaks between the two. “If you don’t give yourself that signal, it’s possible that those social interactions will feel like work,” Dr. Balick said.
Digital Skills Readiness
- This helps to establish a kind of mental boundary: You could use your laptop for work calls and chats, and your phone for your social life.
- When spending so much time on your devices, be mindful of the content you consume and share.
- Always remember that social media is a place where you definitely see emotional contagion happening really easily. So since everyone is already on edge, you may want to be a bit more careful with your own social media posts.
- Over all, perhaps our relationship with technology will simply become more nuanced. How quickly concerns over “screen time” — never a particularly helpful concept given the myriad activities that come under its umbrella — have been pushed aside now that technology has suddenly become so crucial for both work and play. She is skeptical that people who have been newly exposed to digital tools will just abandon them once coronavirus restrictions lift.
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The increasing importance of digital skills training
The world of work is changing continuously, rapidly integrating use of new technologies in jobs. Most employers require all job seekers to apply online. Frontline service workers in many industry sectors now rely on automation and digital tools in their work. Jobs require employees to know how to use email, search the internet, create documents, and handle other digital literacy tasks, such as managing benefits online. Many jobs have become inaccessible to adults who lack digital literacy skills.
Building digital literacy skills, and being able to prove these skills to employers, can improve job-seeking success.
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