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10 Reasons Why Your Friends Should Be Jealous of Your Workplace Culture

10 Reasons Why Your Friends Should Be Jealous of Your Workplace Culture
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Have you read stories about how newer companies are changing the way we view workplace cultures? You know, there is the company with a built in slide to get from floor to floor or the companies that provide free food to employees.

Don’t even get me started about all of the awesome benefits companies like Google and Facebook offer to employees (free food, free gym, and free car washes just to name a few).

If you’re reading this article from your dull boxed in cubicle while sitting in a 10 year old office chair drinking crappy instant coffee, then there’s a good chance you envy the way many newer companies are transforming the workplace.

On the other side, if you’re lucky enough to be reading this from a bright, vibrant office in the lounge room while drinking a delicious organic tea, then there’s a good chance that your friends are completely envious of your workplace.

Not sure where you stand? Here are 10 reasons why your friends should be jealous of your workplace culture.

1. Your company has low turnover.

At a time when more and more millennials are job hopping and rarely stay in one position for more than a couple of years, having a low turnover rate is something to be admired.

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If your entry to mid-level employees are sticking around long term, there’s something keeping them there aside from just a paycheck. More than likely, it’s because they genuinely enjoy where they work.

2. People are always looking to join your team.

There are certain companies that have such a strong reputation of having a great workplace that people anxiously wait for a vacancy to open up so they can swoop in.

I hate to bring it up again (not really), but think about Google, Facebook, or Zappos. These are all companies that have received a great deal of attention not just for their economic success, but for their workplace culture.

If your company is known for being a great place to work, then people will want to work there.

3. The chain of command is a little more flat.

Have you ever worked at a job where you had 10 different bosses above you? A lot of older companies are setup with this more “traditional” hierarchy structure, but modern companies are proving that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Having a workplace where there aren’t 20 VP’s makes it easier for good ideas to be heard, and also gets rid of the whole “us against them” attitude that can ruin a workplace.

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4. People don’t have a case of the “Mondays”.

Let’s be honest. If you absolutely dread Sunday evenings because you know you have to go to work on Monday, that’s a problem.

Unfortunately, so few people get to experience working for a great company with a fun and exciting work culture that the “Mondays” has become way too common. Modern workplace cultures have managed to blur the line between work and fun.

5. Employees fight for the company.

Most companies have some sort of mission, goal, or company philosophy. What happens at a lot of traditional minded companies is that the CEO and company spokespeople push the mission, but the lower level employees couldn’t care less about it.

Heck, most of the employees probably don’t even know what the mission is at all. But employees at forward thinking businesses feel like they are a real part of the company and work harder to make it a success.

6. Your company fights for employees.

At the same time, the company is willing to go to bat for their employees.

Whether it’s helping someone get through school, making it easy for parents to tend to their kids when necessary, or other gestures that aren’t necessarily required but are very valued, it shows that the company cares about, and believes in their team, and that’s what people want to be a part of.

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7. Nobody’s walking on eggshells.

There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable at work. You don’t want to say the wrong thing to one of the big wigs, or you feel you have to hold your tongue in certain situations.

Not only is that type of workplace cold and uninviting, but it also leads to a lot of missed opportunities because people are afraid to voice their opinions.

8. Innovation is a priority.

If your company has been doing everything the same way for fifty years with no signs of changing, then your friends probably aren’t too jealous of the culture at your workplace.

Rules are great and can add some structure, but there should always be room for new ideas and change.

With a lot of newer companies, innovation is being made a top priority. If you think of a better way of doing things, you’re able to voice it and actually be rewarded for pushing the envelope.

9. Your colleagues are happy.

Take a look around your office. Does everyone have a look of gloom and despair on their face? Is the overall team morale just kind of “meh?” In a strong workplace, you’ll notice that people are smiling and seem excited and happy.

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10. The workplace is fun and stimulating.

I’m not sure what it was about creating offices and workplaces in the 90’s, 80’s and years prior, but a lot of them feel dark and dreary. Thankfully, more and more companies are realizing the effect that the environment has on employee satisfaction.

Twenty years ago, the thought of having an entire game room in the office would have sounded crazy. But today, I’m happy to see that it’s becoming more of the norm.

There’s no way to avoid the fact that the way workplaces are run is changing. Companies that are stuck in the past and placing the satisfaction of stockholders above the satisfaction of employees are going to be in for a rude awakening when they realize the top candidates don’t want to work for them.

It’s an exciting time for businesses, and if you don’t feel excited and energized to go to work, then hopefully this article will somehow find it’s way to your boss.

Featured photo credit: CQuadratNet via pixabay.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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