Our ‘Camera On’ rule for internal e-meetings

For creative agencies like ours, brainstorming and ideation is at the heart of everything we do.

But look what covid did!  It put a dagger right through our aorta – our ideation and brainstorming meetings.

 Of course there is no greater luxury than wearing pyjamas during work hours but we were losing our soul.

Hand gestures and hysterics replaced by a static display photo.

Whiteboard and crazy ideas reduced to ppts and screen shares.

I feel keeping your camera off during important e-meetings is the same as coming to in-person meetings with a paper bag over your head!

Meetings went on long, there was no focus, no intensity, no propensity towards any idea – we felt like we were in suspended animation. Expressing a creative route too long, gunning the weak ones down – even longer!

In short – too many yesses and too not enough nays. I should have changed the meeting name to ‘brain slumber meet”

Screenshot of a Teams call. Umm..not very personal right?

I was missing the non-verbal cues terribly. However, for the first 4 months, we adjusted to the blue dots on teams, accommodating and factoring everyone’s privacy. Then one day – “I said enough. I need to see the facial expressions. I want to see my team, ideate. Period!”

That was a landmark day – from this day – 16 Aug 2020 – We moved to “camera always on” rule.

To be honest – we faced hesitation!

Not everyone liked the idea. We are at home, the wall behind me has peeled off wallpaper, I am on the dining table and probably 10 more reasons why not to start the camera.

But we marched on, refusing to start any meeting till everyone could be seen and heard.

The upsides of our camera on policy – ah...outstanding!

  • Shower timings moved to early mornings.
  • I could see grooming habits coming back.
  • Some even started using their dried up eye liners.

But above all – we had better outcomes in our creative discussions and the multi-tasking stopped. (aka..checking social media while on teams)

2021 will be a year of taking stands!

Business leaders will be in a tough spot this year. They will need to make choices – and there will be resistance from their people. WFH for them is convenient, practical. For leaders, they feel that the company will lose its edge, innovation will dip, water cooler ideas and comradery will be dry out. Many see WFH as a slow demise.

Morgan Stanley CEO wants everyone back to office by September 2021. ARTICLE

There will be friction. I see attrition rates doubling and shakeup in every business vertical. What works – only time can tell!

However, I made a decision – coming to the e-meeting as if you are walking into a room, fully focused, prepared, involved and visible!

Quoting the words of Confucius – I hear and i forget, i see and i remember.

After all, a successful business at its heart – is hundreds of small business decisions made correctly.

I made mine. I am certain it was the right one.