Do You Wear Pants On Camera?

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Sep 7, 2016

Skype. iMessage. FaceTime. Video conferencing and chat tools are ubiquitous in both modern life and work — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re embraced.

While video conferencing allows employees to connect across borders, work remotely and increase productivity, it has yet to become to the go-to communication tool in the workplace. Why? According to a recent survey from video conferencing company Highfive, the professional upsides are offset for many people by a personal downside: vanity.

After surveying 800 people, Highfive found that 39% of people don’t like being on camera, and 59% of people are more self-conscious on camera than in real life. As it turns out, vanity has a pretty big impact on whether we like video conferencing or not, and what our priorities are on screen.

Distracted by ourselves

Video callers are so distracted by their own appearance that 30% of professionals spend over half the call looking at their own face on their computer screen, rather than paying attention to their colleague. The vanity works the other way around, too: A third of professionals spend more time prepping for their appearance on a video call than preparing for the content of the call itself.

Not wearing pants!

dresstoimpressinfographicWhile over half of video callers try to dress professionally during their face-to-face conversations, 11% of people put in less effort and stay in their pajamas. An even more shocking 11% of callers don’t bother wearing pants. Highfive’s survey results also found that those who skip the professional look tend to wear less clothing the more often they participate in video calls — it becomes a bad habit.

Not everyone loves the camera

Less than 20% of Baby Boomers enjoy video calls, whereas 57% of millennials enjoy being on camera. The millennials said they liked being on camera because it was fun, they enjoyed being the center of attention and they enjoyed showing off their attractive features. Older professionals argued against video calls because they wanted more privacy, had self-conscious feelings, and felt they were not attractive enough for the screen.

Regardless of how much we care about our own vanity, those on the other side of the screen really don’t care what we look like. What they really care about is how we act. In Highfive’s survey, people were most put off by sitting too close to the camera, chewing gum and eating during a video call. These are fixable traits that can improve video calls instantly — without changing your appearance.

This article originally appeared on ReWork, a publication exploring the future of work.
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