Is it OK to turn your camera off during a Zoom call or video conference?

Turning your camera off on Zoom might be a good idea but will it harm how you are perceived at work?

face mute, zoom call, camera off during zoom calls, zoom for your career, career coaching

We’re now years into this great experiment in our careers with remote work and work from home. 

It started off as a Zoom, but now it feels more like a plod. Our work lives are lived on camera all day, every day—and it’s time to let people take a break.

Camera off [or face-muting] is acceptable

Communicating remotely isn’t new. For ages, we corresponded by mail. Then we added telegraphs, which increased the speed of communication. Then came telephones, which allowed us to communicate beyond cablese. Fax, email, instant message—the communication options continued to grow. 

We didn’t see each other’s faces, yet business still thrived.

Video calls are great for a lot of things, like screen sharing and picking up on non-verbal cues. But it doesn’t mean we always have to stare each other in the face. Because, let’s be honest, it’s exhausting.

We all know it’s ok to mute. But I want to make it clear that it’s just as ok to face-mute—to turn your camera off—especially in certain situations.

What Camera-Off Looks Like on Zoom

And there’s one more big one: turn your camera off on Zoom whenever you feel like it

How to encourage people not to face-mute

Yes, it’s ok—and sometimes important—to keep your camera off during a video call. But it’s also nice to see people’s faces sometimes, and the visual aspect of synchronous communication has obvious benefits. 

Instead of issuing a hard edict, you can encourage attendees to show their faces by implementing a few strategies.

I concede that meetings are sometimes (I repeat—sometimes!) necessary, but you can decrease the burden of being camera-on all the time. It may not be a full zoom anymore, but see if you can at least turn that plod into an amble.

Original article on Zapier blog by Michelle S., Technical Writer released on 2 March 2022 

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