PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You log on for your Zoom meeting with your work colleagues and the small black screens are hard to miss.
Your co-workers who do not turn on their cameras.READ MORE: Registered Sex Offender Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Missing Westmoreland County Teen
A new study indicates leaving your camera on during meetings is causing Zoom fatigue.
But the former CEO of CS Energy, Martin Moore, says keeping your camera dark should not be an option.
âI think we just feel as though because of the remoteness, I suspect that we have an option, the technology makes it optional for us,â he says.
But the author of âNo Bull%$#& Leadershipâ says having the cameras on is essential for a good meeting.
âParticularly from a leadership perspective, it’s important that leaders can read somehow the mood,” he says. “The disposition, and the reactions of the people that they’re leading.â
Moore says there is an upside and downside to group video meetings.
âI think it’s really broken down some of the barriers between work and personal life, which has an up and a downside to it, there’s no doubt about it,” he says. “But of course now people appear to be much more human to us.â
Moore says the downside to an employee keeping their camera off is a distraction to everyone else.
âOn many occasions, I’ve been on Zoom calls where a camera’s off, and when you actually address the person who you can’t see, they’re nowhere to be found,” he says.
He quickly adds management has a role in this as well.
Perhaps âfewer meetings, clear purpose and fewer participants in the meetings.â
That said if you are expected in a meeting treat it as if you were walking into the conference room at work.READ MORE: Mt. Lebanon School District Increasing Police Presence During Investigation
âBeing aware of your presentation on a Zoom meeting is no different to deciding what you’re going to wear, and whether or not you’re going to shower and shave before you go into the office back in the days when we were doing everything in a face to face sets,â Moore says.
And when you have your camera on, âIf you’re filing your nails or attending to the family pet, that can be very very distracting but also that’s indicative of what’s actually going on for that individual. And that’s the opportunity for the leader to then pull them aside after the meeting and say, Hey listen, if you got to be on the meeting you need to engage with us, you need to concentrate on what’s going on. Otherwise, you’re not contributing the way I need you to.â
Moore says if you are reluctant to let your colleagues see what is in your room, use a virtual background.
If appropriate it can even be humorous, but be ready to change to something neutral.
âWork doesn’t have to be deathly serious all the time,” Moore says. “So, ways to mix things up and inject some life into a Zoom meeting because it’s very hard to bring the energy through a camera.â
WATCH: Making Zoom Meetings More Productive
He also feels it is important for managers of meetings to set expectations that cameras should be on.
âI think explaining why it’s important, is the main thing, and what you’re trying to achieve is really critical,â he says.
If you are being pulled into excessive Zoom meetings and it’s hampering your productivity Moore says speak up to your boss privately.
âThat’s a starting point for the dialog that says, let’s be smarter about how we work for both of us,â he says.
Moore says managers need to get accustomed to judging employees by their output and not by seeing them constantly on Zoom or Teams meetings.
He says too many bosses are only comfortable if they see their employees at their desks working.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Reports 436 New Cases, 16 Additional Deaths
He says with a hybrid world of mixing working at home and in the office the seeming future, managers need to adjust and trust.