The phrase of 2020 has to be “You are on mute!”. Our muting and unmuting proficiency has been sorely tested during this period of remote working and many of us have been found wanting. I have personally found myself waxing lyrical on a call, only to find I was talking to myself. We all good-humouredly laugh through these embarrassing moments that are guaranteed to lighten the mood of the most serious online meeting.
And of course when you do come off mute, you bring all your background noises with you – true integration of work and life that I find quite refreshing. The birds, the lawnmower, the dog, your child and granny, all creating the symphony of your life broadcasted through wifi. A reminder to those on the line, of the privilege to be invited into your home and your life – a privilege usually afforded only a select few friends, family and the odd house guest.
These are life’s sounds that we have left outside the office turnstiles; the sounds that we left behind in the days when we still swiped our office access cards daily and entered our work spaces. And I’m not entirely sure we were necessarily better for it.
‘You are on mute’ is a metaphor for our work lives until now – maybe even for our lives. We tip toe when we should be stomping, we whisper when we should be shouting, we are silent when we should be speaking, we are existing quietly when we should be living loudly!
‘You are on mute’ is more than just a request to find the ‘unmute’ button on your laptop or your phone. It is a reminder, a clarion call to let your voice be heard.
So go ahead – Unmute yourself!