With millions of us now using video conferencing for both work meetings and catching up with friends, it’s time to ask the question - Does your space look good on screen? Is your home holding up as a video call background?
Homes up and down the country have become ‘outside broadcast’ locations for everything from teaching a keep fit class to delivering the news. We’ve been given a sneaky peek into the homes of colleagues and celebrities alike and it’s been fascinating.
With echoes of the catchphrase from TV show ‘Through The Keyhole’ ringing in our ears, we ask ourselves ‘Who lives in a house like this?’
Like it or not it’s human nature to judge things based on what we see. That interviewer for the new job you so desperately want will undoubtedly be curious to see if your organisational skills are in evidence at home. We’re inherently nosey too! Don’t you want to see what artwork Andy from accounts has??
So, how can you make sure you show off your home’s ‘best side’ when the camera is on?
Have a quick look to check what is behind you. Your boss doesn’t really need to see your drying rack draped with your newly laundered undies. Nor does your prospective new client want to see that mound of clutter on the kitchen table. You portrayed yourself as being so organised and on top of things, right?
Being your authentic self is one thing but would you turn up to the video call still in your PJ’s with a ‘bed head’ going on? Nope! Well, shouldn’t you ‘dress’ your home and give it a wee spruce up in readiness too?
Shelves seem to be one of the most common backdrops. In fact, such is their popularity that the hashtag #showusyourshelves has been trending across social media in relation to all the homes being seen on screen just now. What’s on those shelves though can be so revealing! What would your Zoom mates see on yours? A carefully curated compilation of travel books and mementoes? A beautifully styled assortment of decor accessories? A forgotten pile of papers gathering dust? Shelves make the ideal backdrop as it's quick and easy to add your own personality to them. For more ideas on styling and arranging them, check out this blog on How to decorate shelves.
Plants, greenery and any other nature-inspired elements in your background will automatically convey a feeling of wellness and calm. Could be a useful tactic if you’re expecting some difficult conversations! What about artwork or photos depicting nature? That works well too.
Related Content: Design By Nature
It’s best to have the light source behind the camera. A bright, direct source of natural light is not a friend to video calls. Blinds behind you, even if they’re closed, will mess up your camera’s light settings and you'll barely be seen on screen. Ideally, if there’s a window you can’t escape, you want it behind the camera or off to one side at least, preferably a few feet away. If you’ve got an angle lamp on your desk, try bouncing the light off a nearby wall rather than pointing it directly at your face. It’s more flattering and you’ll feel less like it’s an interrogation!
If all else fails you can always explore the options for a virtual background! Many of the video conferencing tools have their own built-in selection, a bit like a personal screen saver. A beach in the Bahamas anyone?
What's your default video call background just now? What top tips would you add to the list? I'd love to hear your ideas! Please drop them in the comments below.
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