As we all settle into a more permanent working-from-home pattern, those temporary workspaces at kitchen or dining room tables or crammed into spare bedrooms are starting to make way for a more permanent home office. Your home office video conference background is one important thing to keep in mind when making those changes.
With video calls, we are regularly giving colleagues and clients access to our homes, and no matter how hard we try, we are going to judge each other based on what we see. This has led many of us to give more thought than ever before to what is behind us as we work and how professional that looks.
If you’re struggling for inspiration, here are some home office background ideas.
Why Is Your Background Important In Online Meetings?
Whether we like it or not, people are going to judge us by what they can see over our shoulders in a video call.
When we’re in an office, then it’s the company that is getting reviewed, but when it’s your home that they are looking at, that judgment is a little more personal. Think about the last time you attended a meeting on site; how did you dress? How did you act? Our guess is the word you would use is professional.
When you’re working from home, you are still representing the company you work for, so your background needs to reflect that professional persona. The details of that will be different depending on company culture and role, but your virtual background will form part of the first impression of both you and the company.
The major video call applications allow you to use a virtual background. While the technology isn’t perfect, they do a pretty good job of replacing whatever might be beside you with your choice of virtual home office design – and at least it stops you decorating for video calls.
There are usually a range of options to choose from, varying from fun backgrounds like tropical islands or fantasy landscapes to carefully curated neutral backgrounds that emulate an office. Your employer might provide you with a standard branded background, which helps to stand out. It’s also simple to create your own using a free tool like Canva.
How Do You Make A Good Background For Video Conferencing?
- Make sure the proportions are right. Check the settings in your video software to make sure your virtual background fits perfectly.
- Think about what you want the viewer to notice first and put that to your right
- Consider your hair color – dark hair works best on a light background but avoid these if you have light or no hair.
- Avoid neon and bright colors as these can be distracting; use them for highlight only
- Don’t use patterns as these can cause a strobing effect
- Wear different color clothing to the background
- Consider a pop-up green screen behind you for the best results
Virtual backgrounds are perfect for digital nomads or anyone who works outside their home at times as well as it allows you to bring consistency no matter where you are working. The downside is that the technology isn’t always the best, and glitches can happen.
Virtual Background Templates
Home Office Background
A dedicated office allows you to create a permanent home office video conference background that shows you off to the best effect. Like all kinds of decor, there’s an art-to-home office design for video conferencing.
Here are some home office background ideas you could try.
Home Office Background Wall Ideas
- Fancy Wallpaper – If you want a great icebreaker when talking to new people, consider a statement color or wallpaper design. Make your office background wall design work for you.
- Bookshelves – If you’re trying to give the impression that you are well educated and informed, then a well-stocked bookcase can help. You can add photographs or interesting objects to add as conversational icebreakers or show off your design flair by arranging your books by color.
- Objets D’art – Forget the books and just add interesting items to the shelves. This could be showing off your qualifications or awards, themed items around your work, or your personal choice of collectibles.
- Roll-up Banner – Have you got a banner that you use for events? How about popping behind and to one side of your chair for a ready-made home office background for Zoom.
- Artwork – Go corporate and have a wall decal with your logo, or just pick a poster, painting, neon light, or any other expression of your professional persona.
Alternatively, you could use a plain wall as your background, which brings us to the question…
What Is The Best Color Background For Video Conferencing?
Generally speaking, the best wall color for video conferencing is neutral, but that doesn’t mean you have to go for plain white. A few shades that look really great on camera are:
- Dark Blue
- Sky Blue
- Cool Gray
- Soft Pink
- Olive Green
- Cream or off-white.
How Do I Style A Home Office Video Call?
Decorating for video calls needs some thinking about. Think of it as a marketing exercise and consider the customers or colleagues that you’re going to be talking with. Then ask yourself, ‘How can I decorate my home office background to prove I can do what they need me to?’ Some things to consider are:
- Clutter – Make sure there are no leaning piles of paper or stacks of books behind you. They will distract the person you are talking to and may judge you as disorganized.
- Controversy – As the saying goes, never discuss religion, sex, politics, or money – unless you need to share these as part of your role, any items or art that relate to these topics should be kept out of sight.
- Lighting – Natural light is the best for calls, but don’t put a window behind you. The camera will try to focus on it and leave you in shadow. If you don’t have a good natural light source, consider buying a ring light that will provide full-spectrum light and help people see you clearly on camera.
- Plants – Greenery helps everyone feel more relaxed, but if you are going to have real plants in your office, make sure you keep them watered. Dead plants do no one any favors.
- Angles – Experiment with your webcam, laptop, or phone/tablet height to get a flattering angle for your call. Your face should take up the center of the screen.
Perfect Your Home Video Office Conference Background
The key factor is that your background should reflect you. Whether you’re trying to connect on a more personal level with colleagues or you’re wowing clients, it’s the personal connection that is the most important. Your space should be a reflection of the professional you, and only you can decide what your own perfect style is.