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Video Conference Call Backgrounds:
Do’s and Don’ts

Video conference calls, including methods like Zoom, have become extremely popular in the days of COVID-19. Working from home can mean dressing more casual, but it’s important to still look professional on video calls and that professionalism includes your conference call background. Some take the route of showcasing their home in their background, by using a wall with pretty décor, or using a space that makes them feel relaxed. Others use customary backgrounds that the Zoom app offer – everything from a tropical beach to a contemporary office setting. Although some of these backgrounds may look fun or energetic, they can also be distracting and could come off across as unprofessional.

First make sure you dress the part. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean your colleagues find pajamas at 2 p.m. acceptable. Unless your boss or someone in charge of a video conference meeting calls for casual clothes or pajamas, stick to a similar style outfit that you would usually wear into the office.

As for your video background, let’s face it, your colleagues probably don’t want to see your significant other walking around in their undergarments or a giant pile of your unfolded laundry. If you don’t want to use a virtual background, make sure you find a calm and subtle space in or outside of your home. A back patio or front porch may keep you away from loud noises in the home. Make sure to test the lighting though so your colleagues don’t see a glare or a shadow. If you prefer indoors, opt for a professional space like an office or desk area. If that isn’t available, make sure whatever is behind you is clutter free and looks as neat and organized as possible.

If you don’t feel comfortable using a space in your home as a background, you can use a virtual one. From popular foreign cities and tourist destinations to Game of Thrones backgrounds, the options are endless. Choose your background wisely, based on the type of meeting you will be a part of. If it’s a more serious, business-style meeting, it’s best to opt for a less-distracting background. A simple shiplap wall, a plain colored background or an office setting will likely be the least distracting with more of a serious tone. If you’re having a more laid-back style meeting, say a work Happy Hour on a Friday, that’s the time to have some fun and use a background that shows off your personality. Whether a picture of your dog or your favorite beach, an intriguing background can be a fun icebreaker for a laid-back meeting.  No matter which background you choose, silly or serious, virtual or your home, make sure to test it before the meeting. Some virtual backgrounds may blend in with what you’re wearing so you may need to try lighter or darker clothing. When you do a test run, move around a bit to make sure everything stays focus. At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with keeping things simple.

Happy video calling!

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