Video calls changed everything.
Rather than going into the office every day, now we can work from our bedrooms, kitchens, anywhere and everywhere we want.
This innovative technology has allowed a whole new generation of workers to form true, long-lasting connections with people all across the globe. It’s fundamentally transformed how we communicate.
Two years into the remote revolution… let’s just say some of us are still learning the tricks of the trade.
As we continue to redefine just what “work” means, we at Electriq have consulted with world-renowned anthropologists and identified the 7 different types of remote workers you might come across in your next scheduled video call.
Sal the Self-View Addict
You’re not hiding it, buddy.
We can all see you stealing glances at the corner of your screen. Fixing your hair. Puffing your collar. Positively glowing as you adjust the light to hit your pupils just-so.
Sal hasn’t always been a self-view addict. It started innocent enough, tidying his background and dressing for success. His behavior was professional, appropriate — admirable, even.
But recently, Sal has entered a self-view spiral far beyond the bounds of self-appreciation.
He video-calls you at all hours of the workday, hoping for another societally acceptable self-gawking session. He’ll never admit it but he’s invested in eight hundred dollar lights and three vanity mirrors.
In your last quarterly check-in, you could have sworn you saw a fog machine adding a (quite tasteful) softening haze.
You’ve got it under control, he tells himself. You’re still getting work done, he mutters.
You don’t have it under control, Sal. You’re spiraling. Turn off self-view. Cover the camera if you have to.
We’ll help you through this.
Lucy The Lurker
Lucy lives amidst the gorgeous Montana landscape and she’s always showing us the beautiful weather of her hometown.
Blue skies. Puffy clouds. Radiant sun.
Unfortunately, with her webcam constantly exposed to the back window, Lucy herself resembles nothing more than a dark blob.
Unlike Sal, Lucy could use a tad more self-view in her life. Perhaps then she’d notice that she looks more like a shadowy demon than the bubbly superstar that her voice suggests.
Matt The Muter
You’re muted, Matt. Still muted. It’s the red button, Matt. The one with the microphone.
Can you hear me now?
Yes, Matt. We can hear you.
The mute button’s great. It enables people from all different environments to communicate and chat together. Even those in noisy coffee shops can smile and nod along, chipping in with the occasional comment.
The thing about Matt is, there is no noise. He lives alone in the middle of Wyoming with his two pet gerbils.
Why the constant muting, Matt? What have you got to hide?
Carmen The Close-Talker
Carmen’s not near-sighted. You’ve asked. She just prefers it this way.
Shoulders hunched. Arms splayed. Her face so close to the camera that you can make out every pore on her skin.
When she tilts her chin up, the morning light catches on her nose hairs. One time, you could have sworn you saw some brain.
Fashionably Late Larry
Everyone got the calendar invite, right? Top of the hour? Yeah? Good, just checking.
Listen, we all understand that remote environments don’t eliminate the late arrival, entirely. Accidents happen.
Maybe there was a spill in the kitchen. Or perhaps a Lego-related foot injury in the hallway. Who could forget the classic daughter-hogging-the-bathroom-again?
We get it, Larry. Everyone’s going to be late sometimes.
But, it does become a little suspicious when you’re five minutes tardy to every virtual meeting we have. Especially when you share your screen and quickly click away from those three Solitaire games open in your tab bar.
Victor the Virtual Background Fiend
Congratulations, Victor. You’re in space. How very clever.
Oh, now you’re underwater. How about that. How utterly amusing.
Let’s be honest, Victor. You’ve been killing it, recently.
You’ve knocked out assignments left and right. You’ve taken on extra work to help out the team. Clients love you. Your co-workers love you. There’s no sugar-coating it. You’re a bonafide all-star. There’s just one, teensy-tiny issue.
Every meeting, without fail, you come in with a new “surprise.”
Aruba. Jamaica. Please, leave it alone-a.
Bermuda. Bahama. Ooh, I wanna kill ya.
Bird’s Eye View Brenda
She’s got four monitors, three keyboards, and a titanium console to control her lighting. Brenda’s got the workstation of dreams.
But couldn’t she have figured out a better place for her camera other than taped on the ceiling?
The bird’s-eye-view camera is a rare sight among the video call community. Although you might not count yourself lucky if you’ve come into contact with this unorthodox video call approach.
Side effects of encountering a bird’s-eye-view Brenda include (but are not limited to):
- A hint of vomit
- A newfound appreciation for your shorter stature.
Seriously, is this what it’s like to be freakishly tall? Do NBA centers live in constant fear of standing up? Where every step risks a downward tumble from the clouds?
You vow never to make a “how’s the weather up there?” joke again.
We’re All Still Figuring This Out
Perhaps there will come a day when all remote workers will unite around proper video call etiquette.
Everyone will arrive on time with bright, front-facing lighting. Everyone will mute and un-mute without a hitch. Everyone will talk at the appropriate volume from the appropriate distance.
Maybe that day isn’t so far away.
But until it arrives, maybe we can all learn to take a little more joy in the lack of etiquette, in the quiet chaos, in the wild west that is the remote revolution.