If you’re like many modern business professionals, you’ve probably been forced to work from home due to COVID-19. Even if you haven’t, there’s a good chance youtr company has started using video conferencing as a primary means of communication for meetings and conference calls. 

Video conferencing services have made life easier, but it’s important to view video conferences the same way we view in-person conferences. You’ll need to be courteous, professional, and organized—whether you’re just in attendance or the organizer of the conference.

Here’s why it’s so important to focus on “video-on” policies when it comes to video conferences.

The Importance Of Body Language

When you’re in a conference call that doesn’t include video, you’re missing out on a lot of communication cues. Nonverbal communication is about 93% of communication, so that leaves only 7% to the voice. That’s not much to work with! Your facial expressions, hand movements, posture, eye contact, and more can give away a lot of emotion and the truth of what you’re feeling or saying.

Video conferences offer a unique opportunity to interact with your co-workers in a way that wasn’t possible just a few decades ago. Being able to have a good conversation “face to face” over long distances is an amazing thing, but you’re losing good communication if your camera is off.

If you’re using video conferencing at work, turn your camera on. If you’re the host of the call, ask your callers to turn their cameras on as well. No one likes to be in front of a camera, I get it. Cameras always seem to find the worst angles of our faces, but it’s a necessity if you want to have a productive call.

Seeing Faces

Whether you’re confined by COVID-19 to working from home, working with remote team members, or simply making conferences easier at work, video conferencing can help you connect face-to-face. But why? What’s so important about seeing a person’s face, anyway?

When you’re communicating with someone, one of the most respectful things you can do is look them in the eyes. It’s one thing to hear someone’s voice, but seeing their face, looking in their eyes, and watching their body language is so much more personal and effective. You’ll understand their emotions more fully, and also be able to convey yours better.

It’s also nice to see familiar faces, especially if you’ve been stuck working at home. You might be starving for social interaction, but aside from all that, seeing a face is just good for mental health. It’s believed that familiar faces actually appear happier than unfamiliar ones.

Healthy Interactions

A healthy, productive interaction requires verbal and nonverbal communication. If you want to foster a culture of understanding, empathy, and communication at work, you need to ensure that everyone turns their cameras on during conferences. You can’t have a healthy interaction with a person who isn’t using their video camera in a video call! They’ll seem like they’re hiding or trying to avoid the conversation, and that’s not good for building trust.

A good workplace is made up of people who respect one another and who communicate well. These two factors act as pillars of a healthy work environment, and it’s proven that a healthy work environment makes employees happier. 

It’s up to you to set an example for the rest of the team, even if you aren’t the supervisor or organizer of the call. Turn your camera on, sit up straight, and interact in a professional, courteous manner. 

Greater Security

Cybersecurity matters in conference calls as well. Keeping the line secure and ensuring no unauthorized users are present means that everyone needs to turn on their cameras. It’s easy to hide behind a screen name, but having to show your face verifies that it’s really you in the call.

Cybercrime has risen in recent years, and for every new security measure, the hackers get more and more sophisticated. You might not think a conference call would be something a hacker would target, but think about the sensitive nature of the information that gets discussed. Someone sitting in on a conference call could learn a lot about internal policies and security, or the state of the business itself.

Some conferencing services allow you to set a password for calls, and almost all services provide a private, custom link to your call that only you can give away. Be careful who you give it to, and encourage your attendees not to invite anyone that wasn’t on the guestlist without asking first.

A Sense Of Normalcy

In a time when we’re all separated and things seem to be falling apart, video conferencing can help us reconnect with those who we’ve lost touch with. An HD video call can bring a person to our living room, even if they’re thousands of miles away. At work, you’ll want to reinforce a camera on policy so that everyone is participating, and you’re providing a sense of normalcy to the meeting. We’re all eagerly awaiting the end of COVID-19, but until we can gather once more, we’ll have to trust video conferencing to keep us connected.