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How would Generation Y Cope with Work without the Internet?

How would Generation Y Cope with Work without the Internet?
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ANNOUNCEMENT: I will not have the Internet for a few days!!!

What a dramatic status to put up.

I can still remember the whirr and click of the Internet dialing up when I was a kid. A 2 – 3 minute wait was great–what a fast connection!

It’s hard for me to remember the time before dial-up internet. Now it’s impossible for me to be off of it for more than an hour straight. What would happen to me working from out of the office if I didn’t have it? What old work methods would I have to learn?

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The generation below me has grown up with the Internet since birth. Could any of them understand what life was like before that? I just barely experienced it. The computer/Internet came to our house when I was eight years old. We used it to print horribly ugly school projects. Ugly, because we over-experimented with all the color combinations and page border options in MS Word. Before that, I vaguely remember my sister’s red typewriter, which was maddening to use. One typo, and the page was ruined! And just this year, the last typewriter ink tapes were produced, bringing forth the end of an era of technology that had dominated since the first printing press.

The Age of Impatience

What I’d personally find difficult if the Internet were to disappear tomorrow would be how much the world would appear to slow down. I would have to buy a newspaper or turn on the TV to see what was happening. I’d have to make more phone calls. I’d have to start remembering people’s numbers, not email addresses. My house would be full of paper–menus for ordering in, business cards, a diary filled with dates and notes, bills, letters…

Waiting would be normal. Nowadays, waiting is almost unacceptable.

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Without the Internet, what would Generation Y have to learn to use?

1. The postal service

Many postal services are being cut in my area despite the increase in online shopping. This means that receiving a letter from the local town council can take anywhere from three to ten days. A package can sometimes take two weeks. And it’s expensive! The joy of free emailing would turn into the frustration of paying many dollars for a registered envelope containing precious documents (after waiting for a substantial amount of time, usually).

  • Pro tip: In a hurry? Express post! That would still take 24 hours. Just FYI.

2. Telephone meetings

Telephone conferencing would still be possible without the Internet, of course, but there would be no more free VOIP conference calls! A real, live telephone bill will appear at the end of each month. The upside is that the cost of the call may make your meetings more efficient. Global virtual teamwork is not as pleasant without the video connection and may not be as good for team building. In fact, this is why the culture of 9-5 in-office originated. Things were a lot easier in person before the existence of the web.

  • Pro-tip: Your organizational skills will certainly be put to the test. Thinking ahead would be essential.

3. Searching and researching: libraries, books, archives (real ones!), filing cabinets, dictionaries, encyclopedias

Research? Try doing it without a search engine! This is where you start to appreciate the time and effort people put into their indexes and the wording of their titles when you are looking for the right information, and the diligence of whoever is in charge of the filing order. Search engines really have us spoiled. We even complain if we have to go past the first page of results!

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  • Pro-tip: Prepare very well what you are looking for in advance, in order not to waste hours of time reading irrelevant material

4. Reacting to content and giving your opinion

It would be close to crazy to have a fake identity or hidden identity in a letter correspondence. It could be done with an anonymous postbox, for sure, but casual commenting and the like would really not be feasible any more. Don’t get me wrong, people did (and do) write letters expressing their disagreement, approval or opinion with commentators, scientists, broadcasters, presenters and so on. However, quick-fire anonymous responding to others in the debate did not exist. Your knee-jerk reaction stayed firmly with you and only got discussed with those in your immediate vicinity.

  • Pro-tip: Use this slower form of communication to really build a good argument for your point. If your going to write a letter about it, don’t let it just be “A well-written piece. Nice job.”

5. People skills

Following on from the last point, it’s pretty hard to be anonymous in your communications (except by blocking your phone number, of course, or removing yourself from the telephone directory). But as well as that, nobody can search your life history, old party pictures, previous tweets and job status without going to a lot of trouble. You have a lot more control over what people know about you. Mirroring that, you also have a lot less available info on the people and organizations you are dealing with.

  • Pro-tip: Keep an open mind when getting to know new people. Don’t be bothered that you can’t spy on their LinkedIn profile or YouTube channel–it’s the same for them. Secrets are valuable and easier to hide. And if you’re worried about embarrassing photos, don’t dance on the table.

6. Cash

Yes, many more transactions would have to be dealt with in cold hard cash and many more trips to the bank would be required. Online payments would not exist–welcome back to reading out your credit card number over the phone! I personally find that when I use PIN to pay for groceries or buy online, I don’t feel as if I’m spending as much as when I hand over a $50 bill. I behave better financially when I use “real” money.

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  • Pro-tip: Use the opportunity to budget what cash you need for the week. You don’t want to wait in line at the bank every day. This system could result in much better money management by cutting spontaneous spending.

Could Gen Y handle it?

Sure! Humans are amazingly adaptable.

But they’d sure miss YouTube and Spotify!

More by this author

Andrea Francis

Andrea loves being productive and getting things done. She shares practical tips to help people achieve what they want in life.

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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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