Zoom Hiders: What Does It Cost Them?


Although mandatory manager meetings at my company bore me to tears, I show up on time so my attendance is noted, and then get through the meetings by multi-tasking. It’s easy enough to hear what’s said as I get other work done. I cover this up by always making a positive comment on at least one of the manager’s proposals.

I leave my video off, though, and when the manager chastised me, I compromised by turning it on at the beginning, saying “hi” to everyone, and turning it on anything important is happening, and when I’m speaking.

I thought this was a reasonable compromise, so imagine my shock when my manager said my leaving the camera off was a key reason I wasn’t one of the three managers being sent to a corporate leadership training seminar. He said, “you’re just not as ‘present’ as the others. We expect more from our leaders.”

I’m ticked that if “video on” was a requirement, he didn’t let me know before I lost out.


According to a Vyopta (a collaboration intelligence company) study, 92 percent of 200 U.S. executives report that employees who frequently turn their cameras off during video calls “probably don’t have a long-term future” with their companies because they’re disengaged.1

The study notes that 40 percent of these 200 managers believe those who turn their videos off are texting or chatting, and 43 percent believe video hiders are scrolling through websites or on social media.

While this assumption unfairly labels individuals who are camera-shy or want to hide occasional snacking, you now know that at least one decision-maker in your company expects you to make your attention obvious.

Before you get too ticked off at him, realize he gave you a heads-up when he chastised you. Also, you make a point of having your attendance noticed. Clearly, your manager expects more than that, and you might not be fooling him when you chime in with a positive comment.  

Meanwhile, managers who supervise Zoom hiders need to go beyond chastising to listening. From experience, if you ask those who keep their video off or audio muted, you’ll learn:

  • They’re camera shy
  • The sight of their face on screen distracts them
  • They want to eat or drink during the meeting, and don’t feel comfortable doing in public
  • They have kids or other parts of their personal life in the background and want to keep their personal life private
  • They multi-task.

Depending on their reason, you can help or encourage them.

If the sight of their face distracts them, suggest they click “hide self-view” on Zoom—this keeps their camera on, but hides their face from their display.  

Let them know it helps you to see their facial reactions, so you’ll know how they feel about what’s presented.

Personally thank them when they turn their camera on, adding that you know they did it to show their team spirit, and that everyone showing their faces helps team members engage with each other.

Finally, lead by example and keep your video on, and above all, make your Zoom meetings worth the time they take.  

If you’d want to make your Zoom meetings rock, check out this post: https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/10/meetings-are-us/

And if you’re curious as to whether your employer can make you keep your Zoom on, check out this post, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/05/can-my-manager-make-me-keep-my-webcam-on/

1 Vyopta | Wakefield | Hybrid Work Survey Results

(c) Lynne Curry 2022

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One thought on “Zoom Hiders: What Does It Cost Them?

  1. I am one of those who don’t like the way I look on camera. I also find it distracting. This comment was one of the most helpful parts of the post for me: “If the sight of their face distracts them, suggest they click “hide self-view” on Zoom—this keeps their camera on, but hides their face from their display. ” Nice option!

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