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Sorry, You’re on Mute — Relearning Virtual Social Norms

Woman on a virtual call

You mean to tell me that I spent my entire life navigating social situations, figuring out what to do with my hands when I don’t have pockets, and how to read the room only to now have to read the Zoom Room? Chances are if you’re like me you’ve spent a good amount of time in your “work sweatpants”, navigating the wild terrain of virtual work. But hold onto your coffee mugs, because we’re about to dive into the world of re-learning social norms in this digital realm.

Meeting Manners in the Digital Age

Remember when you could gauge a meeting’s importance by the number of doughnuts in the conference room? Ah, the good old days. Now, it’s all about mastering the art of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or whichever video conferencing platform floats your boat. Here are some etiquette gems to keep you from becoming the office “Oopsie Daisy.”

The Virtual Handshake: In the pre-pandemic world, we’d extend a hand and say, “Nice to meet you!” Now, it’s all about the digital wave or the awkward ‘hover hand’ where you reach for the screen, just try not to accidentally hit your camera button.

The Mute Button Tango: You’re discussing a big idea, and suddenly your dog decides to audition for America’s Got Talent with a surprise serenade. That mute button is your superhero cape, but don’t forget to take it off when you want to speak – or you’ll be the invisible hero!

The Unintentional Multitasker: Imagine presenting your big idea, and your coworker is mysteriously petting an invisible cat. It’s a telltale sign they’re not quite paying attention. Avoid being the “invisible cat petter” by giving your undivided attention when it’s your turn to shine.

Keyboard Confusion: Ever sent an email to the wrong recipient? Welcome to the club! In our virtual world, emails and messaging apps rule the kingdom. Let’s decipher some keyboard etiquette.

  1. Caps Lock Crisis: TYPING IN ALL CAPS can come across as yelling. Unless you’re genuinely excited about those virtual doughnuts, avoid it.

  2. Emoji Overload: 😂😍🙌 Emojis are a great way to convey emotions, but don’t turn your message into a modern-day hieroglyphic epic. A smiley or two will suffice!

Dress (or Don’t) for Success: Ah, the joy of wearing sweatpants while working from home! But remember, video calls have their limits. Dress to impress – at least from the waist up. You never know when you might need to stand up to fetch that coffee you’ve been craving for the last hour.

Time Management Magic

In the virtual realm, time is both friend and foe. You can attend meetings from your cozy nest, but it’s easy to lose track of time. Set alarms, make use of calendars, and keep your commitments. If you say you’ll be there, be there!

Zoom Out and Be Yourself

Lastly, don’t forget that beneath the digital curtain, we’re all just human beings doing our best to adapt to this ever-changing work landscape. Virtual meetings might be a bit odd at times, but they also offer a glimpse into each other’s lives.

So, embrace the quirks, laugh off the glitches, and keep learning. We’re all in this virtual boat together, rowing towards a future where social norms have taken on a whole new meaning. Remember, it’s okay to stumble along the way — it’s all part of the adventure! Here’s to the virtual voyagers, redefining work norms one video call at a time. Cheers to a future where virtual high-fives and digital donuts are the new normal. You’ve got this! 🚀✨

Written by Allie Glick

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