Have your webcam on ALL the time
Now that I’ve been working in a distributed team for over a year I felt that I could start sharing some of my insights that have helped me start productive and engaged with the team. The first and biggest for me is that my team has their webcam turned on all the time. Any time you are talking with someone you should be able to see them.
How many times have you been on a conference call and someone is asked a specific question and you hear “ummm what was the question.” That happens because frankly they are paying attention. Its far too easy to do something else when it’s just your voice. When the other people can see you then you can’t walk away or play games on your phone.
When you speak with someone face to face a lot of information can be gathered by the other person’s body language. Without them saying a word you easily tell if they bored, angry, annoyed, or any of the other thousands of emotions. When you’re just a voice you lose the visual clues that you have been trained to ready over thousands of year and you lose a valuable part of the interaction
For me specifically I work from a home office, and it’s far too easy to roll into “the office” without showering or changing out of my PJs. As I transitioned from commuting into an office to working from home I found I missed the routine of waking up and getting ready for work. If I Know I have to be on webcam I will get up and make myself presentable.