Is your home or home-office Zoom-ready? And are you wearing pants?
Just recently — in a move that brought him instant fame, though maybe not how he would have liked — Will Reeves, Good Morning America news correspondent (and Christopher Reeves’ son), was caught bare-thighed; broadcasting in a suit jacket, button-shirt, and exercise shorts, on live TV:
So… how has this sheltering-in-place time been for you? Are you fully-dressed during your video-conference meetings?
Or are you rocking the work-from-home “Zoom Mullet?” Business up top, (pajama) party on the bottom?
When I first started drafting this post, I was feeling pretty fierce. I wanted all of us to up our game. Because I am always aware of how we are affected by beauty. How, when we take the time to care for and arrange our own selves, and our environments, this creates an energy field that supports us, and those who come in contact with us and enter our spaces (in real life or virtually).
I am a beautymaker for this reason. Not for the sake of beauty itself, but for beauty’s power to affect people, to invite, to nurture, to connect.
It seems like, for the time being, and maybe for a while into the future, Zoom meetings are part of our new reality; how we will connect with each other, and invite people into our spaces, both for work and for play.
Of course, we don’t need to be putting on tuxedos and ball gowns for every video call, but also, we can keep in mind that we humans are sensitive, perceptive animals.
And, the thing is, people can see and feel us through the screen. How we show up, and whether we’ve made some effort, comes through. For example, I notice that on our Zoom calls, my business advisor Jaime Rowe always has her hair and makeup done, and shows up for our meetings with a friendly demeanor.
I was on a Zoom call recently with 30 people, and it was remarkable how one particular participant stood out from the grid of faces in boxes, both for his environment, which was not a magazine-perfect-styled space yet it was clean, thoughtfully arranged, and the objects that were visible clearly reflected both his personal style and his business brand.
So I have strong feelings about this. And… it’s been eight weeks of shelter-in-place, and I can feel the fatigue setting in.
Tips for Video Conferencing from Home
As we adjust to the new Zoom-normal, we certainly don’t have to create a TV studio-worthy environment in our home right away. For now, though, given video-conferencing is such a huge part of how we are all staying connected, I am offering a few Zoom hacks/ home video conferencing best practices, for your consideration.
In the spirit of doing the best we can with all that is going on, here are a few tips for video conferencing:
1. Get all-the-way dressed
Is this a work call? Dress as if you were meeting in person, even down to pants and shoes. I learned this a long time ago when I was just starting my interior design business from my dining room table. How I am dressed affects how I feel. If I dress for a business meeting, even though I’m at home and could easily remain in my slippers, my mind feels sharper and my energy is more expansive. Even my posture is more professional.
2. Designate a good video-conferencing wall for your backdrop
Do you have a space in your home that feels comfortable, is attractive to look at, and so very you? Try setting up a Zoom meeting on your own, so that your device’s camera is activated, and then scan around the whole frame. Really look at what people will be seeing. Do the objects in your space tell a story you want to tell? If not, edit accordingly.
3. Check your lighting
The most flattering light for Zooms is when you have a light source pointed at your face. The most functionally difficult is when lights are on behind you, causing your face to be in shadow, or only minimally lit. Sunlight coming in through a window and shining onto your face is great for this. If that doesn’t work logistically — the selfie-obsessed Instagrammers today know all about this — there are many kinds of ring lights that you can easily acquire that either clip onto your computer monitor or into a tripod that also holds your phone.
4. Avoid virtual backgrounds
In general, I don’t recommend a virtual background for work-related meetings. They remind me of fake flowers — even the really good ones; we can still feel that something isn’t quite right. That said, if you are going to use a virtual background regularly, a “green screen” blanket or muslin makes for a much crisper visual.
5. Employ next-level design upgrades
Wallpaper, a mural, new art, a professional re-styling of your bookshelves or rearranging of furniture… My team and I would love to help.
We have been using video-conferencing technology to help LMB Interiors’ clients design new home-office setups; we’ve consulted with clients on quick and simple ways to make their current home environments more camera-ready for WFH; and we have provided full-scale in-depth design services, including space plans, mood boards, sanitized sample deliveries, procurement, and installation — so that home becomes the most welcoming, comforting, and supportive shelter possible.
Would you like a quick design upgrade or are you considering full-scale interior design work? We are here for you. Contact us for a consultation by clicking here.
As someone who has done a number of Zoom calls already, I can attest to the absence of backgrounds. While they can be fun to have when chatting with friends and family members, they aren’t always appropriate for work-related situations.