“Engagement” or Surveillance?

“Engagement” or Surveillance?

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash


Oh boy. Another LinkedIn classic.

“Bosses want your camera on,” which you can find here: https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/bosses-want-your-camera-on-5808914/

Part of me is like, “Really? I still have to blog about this kind of junk?” 😣

In the blurb, editor Cate Chapman writes:

“Many bosses want employees to return to offices and, it seems, to see them in the video calls that have become so ubiquitous during a work-from-home era. A new survey from software company Vyopta shows 92% of executives at big and mid-size firms feel that workers who turn cameras off during meetings don’t have long-term futures with them. Ninety-three percent view these workers as being less engaged. Given that hybrid forms of work are here to stay, that’s worrying for employees — but could also mean employers need to get with the times.

Some reasons why workers opt out of video during these calls:

‘Zoom fatigue,’ or the tiredness that comes with watching yourself as you speak.
Privacy concerns, when people are working from home.
Flexible schedules, which can mean people feel inappropriately attired for meetings.”


Also: people may opt out because they want to and they don’t feel like life was meant to be lived on a Zoom call. Just sayin’.

As we all know, I detest Zoom and any other form of corporate forced video nonsense. My first reaction to anyone asking for a video meeting is like the photo above: “Haha, gross. No thanks.” IMHO, forced video meetings are is less about engagement and much more about surveillance. Let’s look at this line from the blurb:

“A new survey from software company Vyopta shows 92% of executives at big and mid-size firms feel that workers who turn cameras off during meetings don’t have long-term futures with them.”

This is so freakin’ discriminatory it makes me want to barf.

This impacts people of color:


This impacts women:


This impacts individuals with autism and/or neurodivergence:


This impacts individuals who are non-binary and/or transgender:


This impacts older generations still in the workplace and leads to ageism:



Oh but sure, by all means, let’s talk about how executives and big shots don’t think it “looks good” for you to shut the camera off. Won’t someone please think of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male power brokers and what they want! 😒

The article from Axios that the LinkedIn article references (how meta can we get) can be found here: https://www.axios.com/trouble-for-workers-who-turn-cameras-off-zoom-8b54035b-b365-4b51-8034-8de04bca18ef.html

In that article, we further learn:

“In a separate finding from Vyopta, 93% of execs said that people who frequently turn off their cameras probably aren’t paying attention. Those employees are perceived as less engaged with their work overall.” (emphasis mine)

This is not necessarily true. Someone may feel very uncomfortable or nervous on camera. Someone may have gotten a terrible night’s sleep and have no desire to be on camera in front of people with bags under their eyes and rumpled hair. At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters much why someone doesn’t want to be constantly on camera. It’s more about why Corporate America finds it so damned important. And that, to me, boils down to surveillance. It also begs the question, “What is happening in all of these freakin’ meetings? If the managers feel that people aren’t paying attention, why are you having a pointless BS meeting anyway?” Some companies seem committed to Death by Meetings and having meetings just to have meetings. Nothing really gets accomplished – it’s all a lot of silly nonsense. As I’ve written before, I’ve never seen a cowpoke round-up on Zoom or Teams that couldn’t have been an email instead. Never. Not a single time. So… WTH is going on with all these Zoom meetings that executives feel the need to get butthurt if they can’t see their feudal serfs employees on camera all the time?

One responder makes a great point:

Interesting observation! Reminds me of Al Pacino’s speech in The Devil’s Advocate: “It’s the goof of all time. Look, but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow.”

Sure, you can have unlimited PTO… until you ask to take some.

Sure, you can work from home… as long as you keep the webcam on and “hop on Zoom” any time you’re asked to, day or night.


One imagines the serpent offering the apple with a promise of immortality…


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