TMI: Remote Work Reveals Too Much Personal Info.

August 26, 2020

Remember the good old days when we could pick and choose how much personal information we shared at work? You can kiss that sh*t goodbye with all these video calls.

TMI: Remote Work Reveals Too Much Personal Info.

Remember the good old days when we could pick and choose how much personal information we shared at work? You can kiss that shit goodbye with all these video calls. We have a front row seat into everyone’s home lives, and it shows stuff we would never reveal to our colleagues.

My “home office” is actually my kitchen counter. With any luck I will get through a one hour video without these things in the frame: the dog yapping, the dirty breakfast dishes stacked near the sink, the overflowing laundry basket in the corner, the FedEx guy ringing the bell, kids interrupting complaining of boredom or who hit who first, magnetic poems all over the refrigerator door, sweat dripping down my face because the AC went out, a TV blaring in the background. Sure, I’ve tried those virtual backgrounds, the mute button, going outside, earbuds, cleaning up the house. It turns out that having a whole family in close quarters for months on end does not lead to tranquility and order. Chaos rules and that’s just the messy truth (literally!).

I’ve been using humor and preemptive strikes to manage this. I let the team know that I might get interrupted at the start of the meeting. I make jokes about needing 5 essential workers to get my life back in shape. I tell a funny story about how the maple syrup ended up on my keyboard. I put up a serene virtual background screen.

I’m not one to share too much about my personal life at work because I like to keep things separate. Those days are over so I’m working on how to find the right balance between “yep, I’m human just like you” and “look at me, asshole, and not at my home decor”!