Digitas has launched a new toolkit to help online users better understand and empathise each other’s work-from-home situations during video calls. Named “On Mute Cos”, the toolkit is a series of profile pictures that lets people on the video call know why the users’ video or audio is disabled. Each image is based on the most common work-from-home inconveniences that could affect an important office call. The images can be used on Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other video call services as well.

Digitas hopes that its new toolkit will help set expectations during video calls that enable less judgement and more empathy among groups. The toolkit comes with explanations including having a pet or kids playing in the background, sharing spaces, running errands, noisy neighbours and more. The agency also plans to uncover more living situation hassles by using data and convert them into more “On Mute Cos” content for people to use.

The idea for “On Must Cos” comes as Digitas recognises that while working from home has become the new norm today, there are people who are still struggling to create an ideal work-from-home condition. Unfavourable factors such as a playful pet, a child throwing tantrum, or a family member walking past in the background have led to online users turning off their camera and microphones so as not to be disruptive. However, it may also be seen as the user being uncollaborative and disinterested.

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Joaquim Laurel, executive creative director of Digitas Singapore and SEA, said the agency has also been seeing this phenomenon in its office calls in recent months. Thus, it wanted to create something it could use themselves and share with everyone else they get on calls with. “At the heart of it, I think the team just wanted to make people realise that not everyone has a nice private home office and others just have to contend with whatever living spaces they have,” he added. Laurel, who was previously the head of creative at VMLY&R Singapore, joined the Digitas team back in February 2020. Laurel is responsible for shaping Digitas Singapore and SEA into a leading creative force in the industry, merging UX, social, content and digital campaigns to create Digitas signature work.

Rika Sharma, managing director of Digitas Singapore and ASEAN, said: “On Mute Cos has been a labour of love by the team as everyone has had their fair share of ups and downs navigating working from home and with the acknowledgement that not everyone’s work space is ideal when working from home. It’s a nod to being empathetic to employees work environment especially for those who live with family, roommates, children, pets or even noisy neighbours.”

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