📹 3 reasons why “video on” is more effective than “video off”

It’s Wednesday and we’re back! A quick note before getting started - there will be no letter next week as we head into the holidays. Thank you so much to everyone who signed up for this letter and our remote email course. It’s incredible to see so many eager folks ready to learn and grow as a remote employee, founder, freelancer, or maker. As we head into the new year remember to reflect on your learnings and growth this year. I can’t wait to share with you what Remote Newbie 2020 will offer!

Now back to our regularly scheduled letter….Today’s hand-picked article is from the Outklip blog featuring an interview with Outklip CEO, Sunil Kowgli and the co-founder and CEO of Gitlab, Sid Sijbrandij. In this piece, they talked a ton about running a distributed team as well as the importance of using video in team meetings and 1:1s.

Let’s dive in…


I’m a big fan of Gitlab’s remote work transparency and its focus on documenting literally everything. Within their culture and remote team processes lives remote team collaboration. And a big piece of that is chatting on Slack but another huge portion of collaboration is incorporating meetings. I know, I know, we all love meetings. Hear me out.

In an office environment, we’re used to having impromptu meetings in the form of walking up to the Sales Lead and talking for 10 mins. to quickly resolve an issue. Otherwise, you’re coordinating conference room chats with the rest of your 9-5 pm co-workers.

Now…let’s switch to a distributed team. Gone are the drive-by meetings and guess what? Coordinating meetings just becomes 10x more difficult. On top of that conversations are happening over chat or quick conference call.

The big piece that many teams and people transitioning to remote have to get used to is turning on your webcam in meetings.

Here are 3 reasons why “video on” is more effective than “video off”

01. It’s unclear who you’re talking to.

Sid was asked by Outklip’s CEO what their usage of video conferencing vs. phone calls was. Sid said that phone calls never happen with customers and for good reason…

Yeah, it’s unclear who’s speaking, you can’t see non-verbal communication, it’s hard to share something and we use screen sharing a lot. 

02. When providing feedback to a co-worker it’s usually better received.

Feedback is definitely hard to give and even harder to receive. So, sharing that feedback via a video call where you can see the body language, the facial expression of your co-worker or employee upon receiving your piece of negative feedback allows for a better response.

03. It’s the secret sauce to building trust and rapport.

In an office environment, it’s easy to take for granted the benefits of seeing your co-worker as you’re talking through a difficult technical bug or leading a presentation about an upcoming feature release or even casually chatting about the vacation you’ll be taking in a week. When you’re having a conversation over video it almost feels like you’re face to face. When so much of working remotely is asynchronous being open to hopping on a call with video on bridges that missing or lack of human connection with your team.

💡Takeaways

  • It’s simple. Video on. As much as you can. When you can.

  • It’s also totally okay to have video off, sometimes. At times I’m in a meeting and I don’t feel too well or I’m having a quick bite to eat and I do turn my video off. Or I’m calling in because I’m about to board a flight. And that’s a-okay.

  • Transitioning to remote work and find video a little uncomfortable? Start looping in as many 1:1 video calls with friends, family, etc. The more you practice the easier it becomes to turn your video on in work meetings.

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📹 Tool Share Corner

Speaking of video - I’m excited to share with you a neat tool for video communication and collaboration, introducing team.video.

I’ve asked their team to share a quick blurb about what you can do with the tool, here it is 👇

Hey Remote Newbies! We've been working on a video collaboration tool for remote teams and would love your feedback. With team.video, you can work together on collaborative notes and agendas, share feedback in real-time with virtual expressions, and assemble and work in dedicated project rooms. Try it with your team at team.video/welcome and let us know what you think!

Take me to team.video

👋See everyone next week! As always hit ‘reply’ if you have any questions.


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