September 20, 2021

Why your boss should not ask you to wear makeup on zoom calls

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The outrage on the statement of looking good on zoom calls starts with Caroline, a non-profit communications director. Caroline has been working from home during a pandemic situation, just like others. Like every other working person, she is trying hard to maintain the work-life balance during the lockdown period. But once, she came across an email from her executive director stating a message to the entire company. It was an email about a few tips and resources to look good on a zoom call. 

The email had all the necessary things like hygiene, tidiness, looks, and background lights. Caroline’s boss also added to invest in a good quality webcam and, of course, to wear a subtle makeup for looking good on zoom calls. 

The later remark made her furious as it was quite a sexiest remark for the working women or women in general. Saying such things during the condition of working from home was quite inconsiderate from his part.  

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The problem exists everywhere

It is not only about Caroline or one particular female alone. Many women from all around the world are facing the same problem. Most women ease their frustration by putting it up on social media, and the rest of them use their way to tackle it. 

Few bosses repeatedly point out their employees on their looks, and some of them ask women employees to wear makeup for looking good on zoom calls. Many stories have gone viral in the past few months, stating a similar problem they face during this shutdown period. 

Effect of remarks on the productivity

These remarks on the looks can be discouraging at all times, but saying this during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic can create a feeling of panic and anxiety. Criticizing people over their looks during the tough time of the Covid-19 pandemic can hugely affect a big-time to the productivity and morale of the women. Women are prone to get all this criticism in both the condition, whether during a pandemic or not. 

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University, says that focusing on appearance beyond professional attire can create a toxic environment. It hinders the team members’ growth and can be a huge obstacle in the productivity of the work. He added that criticizing the looks can put unnecessary mental pressure on the person, which can destroy the confidence of employees who are already balancing a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Other problems of the present

People are already suffering many serious issues amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Parents have to teach their children at home like a homeschool for the very first time. And some people in isolation are struggling with depression and loneliness. Wearing makeup for looking good on zoom calls is the last thing on anyone’s mind during this situation. Although there might be a few people who care more about their looks while working from home during a pandemic. Most of them don’t; thus, they don’t like to turn on their web camera during zoom meetings. Not everyone wants to get criticized for their looks or appearances if they are doing well in their work. 

Things management must keep in mind

Some people believe that putting on makeup can provide a sense of grounding during the Covid-19 pandemic, but not everyone feels the same way. Enterprises and the management needs to be mindful of the sort of language they use to address any issues to their employees. Criticizing the looks or lighting of the employee during the zoom call is not a great thing to do. It will not only decrease work productivity, but it will also disturb the mind of the employees. People are already stuck in a difficult situation and are dealing with a lot of crises during the Covid-19 pandemic, and getting all this feedback won’t be a wise thing.

The harsh reality 

The reality is that women receive much more scrutinization and criticism on their appearances than men. From politics to business and education field, the implications of the uneven standards are seen everywhere. Brooke Erin Duffy, associate professor in the Department of Communication, says that women are expected to match a certain beauty standard. The situation has been worsening during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are many more serious issues that companies must be addressing than the looks of women over zoom calls. Finally, professor Duffy says that this realization should reduce rather than increase the requirements for forms of aesthetic labor.

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