Updated: Jun 10
I know you've probably read that video conferencing is one way to connect with virtual employees. Sometimes we want to see the body language and facial expressions of the individuals on the call to get a better understanding of their reactions.
Or you may be one of those leaders that just aren't comfortable with leading remote workers so this is a control mechanism you've put in place to make sure they are actually working in a designated workspace.
Regardless of the rationale, allow me to provide some perspective and speak on behalf of your employees. Those fortunate enough to work from home during this crisis are potentially dealing with any or all of the following distractions in their home:
Bored kids being homeschooled by people that never wanted to homeschool their kids who don't have time to do it because they are working
A spouse also working from home and potentially also on a conference call
An unemployed spouse hanging out watching Tiger King on Netflix
Dogs barking at all the delivery drivers or the bored kids chasing them around the house
No designated workspace
No hair salons, therefore, an abundance of gray hair, not to mention unruly eyebrows, facial hair, nose hair, and sad extensions
The added stress of team members seeing them at their worst
Decreased bandwidth because everyone in the world is on the internet right now
Stress due to the never-ending loop of news about the impact of the virus.
Forcing your employees to be on a video call now is quite frankly, mean. Your heart might be in the right place but if you really want to know how team members feel about something, learn to listen closely. Listen to tone as well as words. And if you are in doubt, call after the meeting and clarify. This is not the time to add to everyone's stress by basically announcing, "I'll feel better if I can see you at your worst." At a bare minimum, give them the option to join via video. Employees who want that visual connection are free to do so while not forcing those uncomfortable with everyone seeing their untrimmed nose hairs.
If you'd like to learn more about effective leadership and creating high performing teams, email email@example.com.