Videoconference best practices: Protecting your privacy while maintaining professionalism

If you worked in an office before the pandemic, there’s a good chance that you’ve been working remotely at least part time since March 2020.

Looking ahead, the end of the pandemic does not necessarily mean an end to remote work. In fact, 16% of employees will continue to work from home even after it is safe to return to office spaces, according to a Harvard study.

Videoconference best practices

This means that videoconferencing is here to stay for many workers. Virtual meetings can take some getting used to, but really, they shouldn’t be much different from in-person meetings.

So how can employees maintain professionalism and protect their security during videoconferences?

Maintaining social etiquette

Dress appropriately

One of the benefits of working from home is the opportunity for enhanced comfort. It may be easy to slip into the habit of wearing a sweatshirt or pajamas all day long. However, it’s important that employees are still dressed for work when they are on video calls so they can maintain a professional appearance. In fact, 47% of remote workers have a preference about the clothes their colleagues wear on video calls, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review.

You may think that, since only the top half of your body will appear on the screen, you can dress especially comfortably on the bottom half. While there is some truth to this, be sure to proceed with caution. You never know when you might need to suddenly stand up to retrieve something during a meeting and show everyone your festive pajama pants. It’s best to be safe and wear the kind of bottoms you would normally wear to the office.

Mute yourself whenever you’re not talking

Depending on your living situation, there could be background noise in your environment. If you live on a busy street or near a train station, or if you have kids or pets, you might not even notice the kinds of noises in your home. Your colleagues on the other line, however, can hear everything going on around you. Be sure to mute your microphone whenever you aren’t talking to avoid distractions.

Consequently, you’ll need to remember to unmute your microphone whenever you intend to speak. It’s always a little awkward when someone on a video call starts moving their lips and no words come out. To make a video call resemble an in-person meeting as closely as possible, you should want your team to say, “You’re on mute,” rarely, if at all. Keep your finger on or near your trackpad as a reminder to quickly turn your microphone on and off, if necessary.

Keep your surroundings clean and organized

Not everyone has the benefit of a designated home office. Some people take their calls in their bedroom, kitchen or living room. It’s best to make sure that these rooms are clean and presentable before a call because a lot of clutter around the speaker can be distracting.

Protecting your privacy

Blur your background

Your colleagues don’t need to know what your house looks like. It is perfectly appropriate to blur your background during a videoconference so specific details aren’t discernible. You may not realize how much private information is readily available in your background — it’s always possible that you wrote sensitive information down somewhere in the room. Hackers could even potentially use your belongings to crack your security questions or passwords on certain accounts.

You can even use a digital background for an extra layer of security. Just make sure that the one you choose is professional and appropriate.

Be cautious when screen-sharing

If you need to share your screen, make sure that all of your other tabs are closed and your notifications are temporarily disabled. If you receive a text or an email that becomes visible to your colleagues during a video call, not only is that unprofessional and distracting, but your privacy also becomes compromised.

How Total Defense can help

Total Defense can help you protect your privacy in ways that maintain professionalism. Contact us today for more information.