When so called “BBC dad”, Robert Kelly, became an overnight social media sensation after his famed video-conferencing from home debacle, the world laughed, and breathed a huge sigh of relief – “thank goodness that wasn’t me!”. With recent estimates that 1.5 million people are now working from home in the UK , video conferencing has become a mainstay for many home workers. The rise in its popularity has been fuelled both by technology and the acknowledgement that being virtually face-to-face can be a more productive alternative to commuting. Yet recent research has shown that 93% of home workers have experienced an embarrassing disruption whilst on a work call and it’s easy to see why:
In our homes we are outside the professional environment and as such we are at the mercy of what ever or who ever else is in that space. As keen proponents of video conferencing from home, we don’t think the challenges should outweigh the benefits – but it’s all about damage limitation. Here are our top tips:
Video Conferencing From Home: Tip 1
Create a Dedicated Space
Have a room or a space that is dedicated to working and more specifically, telecommunication and video conferencing (VC). Remember that when you are video conferencing it’s better not to have a window or a source of light behind you. Think of it like taking a photo – if you face the sunlight your camera will be ‘blinded’ by the sun and your picture will be over-exposed. The ideal back drop is a plain wall which will also prevent your audience from being distracted.
In order to prevent interruptions, a lockable door would ensure you don’t have any unwelcome visitors. And if that is not possible, the more you can do to cut off the outside world the better. If you live in a busy house or a noisy area you could even consider some acoustic panelling to create a greater level of seclusion. Unfortunately, poor Robert Kelly had a private home office and subsequent interviews have revealed that he does usually lock the door. I guess the answer to this is to make sure you lock the door before you go on the conference call!
Video Conferencing from Home: Tip 2
Warn Housemates/ Family When You Have a Call Scheduled
If you were in an office you would book a room, so if you’re video conferencing from home– do the same. Book the time out, let people in the house know that you won’t be available and are not to be disturbed. If people know when your video conference calls are scheduled they can plan around that and even go out if necessary.
Video Conferencing From Home: Tip 3
Get the technology right
People interruptions are just one of the pitfalls of video conferencing from home. The other big disruption is technology. Whether it’s a poor internet connection or bad quality technology, investing in a reliable set up is worth saving the embarrassment or reduced productivity associated with stilted conversations or lost dialogue. For an affordable solution offering great quality sound and camera, we like the Logitech BCC950 conference camera.
Video Conferencing from Home: Tip 4
What Robert Kelly’s video conferencing error has reminded us is that behind every embarrassing incident there are real people, living real lives. One of the reasons this episode has struck a chord with so many is that ‘it could be me’, albeit not on BBC news coverage to millions of live viewers(!) So if it does happen to you, smile, be authentic and acknowledge, ‘this is life’! Likewise, if you happen to be on the other end of an embarrassing video conference call, be gracious and remember how that person must be feeling.
In the modern world, work and personal life are no longer two mutually exclusive parts of our lives. The benefits of that give us a greater amount of flexibility as to when and where we work. Of course the flip side of that is a closer connection to the home – and all that goes with it!
If you are looking to implement or improve video conferencing from home in your business, give us a call at TecInteractive and we will be happy to help.