Should you have your camera on or off during work conference calls?

Lory's workstation
Lory's workstation (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)

With the current situation in the world right now, a lot of people are working from home. While this is not something new to me, personally (I've been #WFH for about a decade), it's definitely unknown territory for many people who have never done this before. As you work from home, you may still need to participate in work meetings and conference calls for projects or just to check in.

So if you're new to the work from home scene, what is the standard etiquette for work conference calls: do you have the camera on or off? It's more like a combination of both.

It's nice to still have social interaction with everyone

Rene working remotely

Rene working remotely (Image credit: iMore)

I'll admit it right now — I'm a pretty introverted person. I am often shy around other people unless I really know them, and it's hard for me to speak to new people without feeling incredibly nervous. So working from home works wonders for me, because I prefer not having to deal with others. But I will also tell you — it gets pretty lonely after a while. Sometimes, even if you're an introvert, you miss just being able to interact with others in the workplace.

I usually keep my camera on during our weekly team meetings here at iMore, though I don't always say much compared to my coworkers. The reason I keep it on, even if I don't talk, is because it makes the meetings feel more personal and fun, especially if we can all see each other's pets! Since I work by myself at home every day, it's just nice to see the other people I work with daily, even if they're just a bunch of pixels on my computer screen. And since my work just involves text, it's easy to forget that I work with a bunch of other amazing human beings.

I usually put mine on because, when we only communicate through text and audio, we forget that we're human. We also lose all the eye and body language cues that mean so much in real life. - Rene Ritchie, VECTOR Host

Sometimes you'll want it on or off depending on the meeting you're having.

On if it's an actual meeting or something in which you're expected to participate. Off/your choice if it's more of a presentation. - Joe Keller, Senior Staff Writer, iMore

But no matter the situation, having it on is a better experience for everyone involved.

I try to keep my camera on always for the same reason Rene says. It's a more personal interaction when you can see each other's face. It's a better social experience. - Lory Gil, Managing Editor, iMore

Or perhaps you have it on to motivate yourself to get dressed properly and not be lazy — whatever works for you!

But sometimes it's best to have it off

Blue Yeti with iMac

Blue Yeti with iMac (Image credit: iMore)

Of course, while maintaining social interaction with your coworkers is important and essential in preventing feelings of loneliness and isolation, there are times when it should remain off. These times involve work meetings where a presentation's involved, so your camera isn't really necessary. Plus, it may be distracting for others, especially if a cute cat is walking in front of your camera.

I also recommend keeping your microphone off if there are a lot of people in your meeting. This reduces the amount of noise that people hear in their headphones or speakers, especially if there is echo from your speaker that is getting picked up by your microphone. The time to unmute yourself is when you actually need to say something to everyone else.

And well, if you don't want everyone else to know that you're working at home without pants or from your bed, then you should probably keep that camera off.

How are you adjusting to the #WFH lifestyle?

It's not new territory for me, but it is for many of you out there right now. There is definitely an adjustment period, but hopefully some of these etiquette tips help you decide when it's appropriate to have your webcam on or off during work conference calls. It may be temporary, or it may last for a while — remember, we're all in this together.

If you want more tips from working from home, make sure to check out some of the methods the iMore team uses for maximum productivity.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.