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5 reasons why you should turn on your webcam

“Can everyone see my screen? Can everyone hear me?” Ahh, the familiar refrain of working from home!

If you’re working remotely (like so many of us) your office probably looks pretty different. Maybe there’s some laundry hanging in the background, some kids and pets running around, and you might be wearing your pajamas instead of that pressed shirt.

It might be tempting to switch off your webcam, but there’s actually some really good reasons to turn your camera on.

1. It saves time and money

Video calls give us an instant connection. These days attending a meeting is just a click of a button. Even if you’re working in the office, using technology to catch up saves on unnecessary travel time, making it easy to consider whether you actually need to see someone face to face for a short meeting. With a webcam, you still get the connection of making eye contact without the travel time.

2. It reduces the dreaded email overload

If you’re used to using a lot of email chains, then you already know that a conversation resolves issues far quicker. The beauty of using Microsoft Teams is that you can choose from video or voice calls, or ongoing chats with your teammates (or external clients or contractors). Because you can complete work in Teams, you can virtually kiss those dreaded email chains goodbye!

3. It makes it easier to absorb information

We humans are visual creatures. Seeing things helps us to understand and absorb information. Video meetings are perfect for this, letting us easily see and share visual resources. Microsoft strongly encourages the use of webcams and reference Forbes research that cites “62% of executives agree that video conferencing significantly improves the quality of communication. In addition, 50% of those surveyed believe video conferencing also improves the degree of understanding.” When everyone understands the content of the meeting, then that probably means less meetings altogether, which is a win for everyone.

4. You can stop taking notes!

Ever struggled to take notes AND keep on top of what’s happening in a meeting? With video meetings, you don’t have to worry about taking copious notes. Recordings mean you have easy access to the meeting and can revisit the key points whenever needed.

Webcams also make it easy to see who is speaking, and crosstalk isn’t as much of an issue as it would be with cameras off. With Microsoft Teams’ “raise hand” function, you can let everyone know you want to speak without the annoying “on/off on/off” microphone dance.

Recordings are also super handy if you miss a meeting and need to catch up later.

5. It makes work warm and fuzzy again

Working remotely has a lot of great advantages. There’s no commute, which saves time, money, and relieves a bit of stress. There’s also more time to spend with kids, pets, and loved ones. You can also devote some more time to your hobbies. (Sourdough bread baking, anyone?)

But working remotely does have some downsides. It means you may not feel as connected to your colleagues. For some of us, that can be a very lonely feeling. It’s important that you and your colleagues feel you can lean on each other for support if anyone is struggling. Switching on your webcam can give you that human connection, for you AND for your colleagues who might be feeling disconnected.

Feeling closer to your co-workers also means you will work better together. You’ll feel more comfortable reaching out, asking for clarification if needed, and collaborating.

You might also want to try Microsoft Teams’ new “Together mode”. This function lets you see everyone in a lecture theatre-style layout, making it easier to see who’s in the meeting.

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