(April 2020) Blinds.com’s Abigail Sawyer shares her professional wisdom on setting up your home office to maximize natural light and take the stress out of video conference calls.
The alarm chimes from your work calendar – you’ve got a video conference call in 5 minutes. No matter how much you prepared, there’s a little anxiety as you get ready to digitally present yourself. Your sharp public speaking and presentation skills won’t mean much to your team if the houseplant behind your head makes you look like a rooster with a bargain barber.
Don’t let this very real possibility throw you off your game from the moment your camera clicks on. With a few small adjustments, you can go from conference call catastrophe to video chatting superstar.
“You’ll feel more confident and comfortable if your home office space is uniquely yours,” says Sawyer. “Natural light can make a huge impact on your space, so it’s great resource for improving your video conference calls.”
Many of us are now thrust into the new reality of working from home. Take the uncertainty out of video chatting with your boss and coworkers with these 4 tips to make you and your space look great on a video conference call.
1. Make a Dedicated Office Space
If you’ve suddenly been thrust into the working-remote population, it’s a good idea to set up a dedicated office space in your home. Not only does this mentally separate your home and work life, but it also creates a consistent background in which you can feel comfortable taking video calls.
When the camera clicks on, you don’t need to be reading The New Yorker or displaying a collection of rare Fabergé eggs behind you, but a little professionalism goes a long way – you don’t want to be the one person on the video call with dirty socks hanging from your headboard for the whole company to see. Keep your office – particularly the space behind your head – clean and clear of any distractions.
According to Sawyer, separating your work from your free time is another great perk of setting up a video-friendly home office space. “Clearing out the clutter in your home office will make your more productive and appear more professional on video calls. Plus, you can close the door on your office when you’re done for the day.”
2. Make the Most of Natural Light
The best tip we have for improving your video calls just happens to be free: take advantage of any natural light in your home office. Not only is sunshine good for your health – especially if we’re all stuck inside for an indefinite period of time – but it can also be the deciding factor in how you appear in a video call.
If you’re getting too much direct sunlight, closing the slats of your blinds or lowering your shades can help reduce the glare. “We always recommend light filtering shades for home offices,” Sawyer says. “They filter the light passing through your window the same way a professional photographer would use light filters when taking photographs, so they’re a great option for improving your appearance on video calls.”
If you’re part of the massive surge of people tackling DIY home renovation projects to accommodate long-term working from home and want to upgrade your window treatments, consider light-diffusing shades which can provide a soft glow instead of direct sunlight.
3. The Right Place at the Right Time
Keep in mind that light will travel through your window differently throughout the day. The perfect morning sunshine may be long gone by your 4pm call. If your space allows for it, changing your orientation relative to the windows throughout the day can make a big impact on how you appear on video calls.
“Never sit with your back to a window,” Sawyer advises. “The light spilling in will entirely darken your face, making it difficult for others to see you. Instead, sit facing the window or at a slight angle so the sunlight is always behind your camera.”
4. Let There Be Light
If your office space doesn’t have great natural light, you can always rely on artificial light to brighten your video calls. Avoid sitting directly under harsh overhead lights, as they can play with the shadows on your face and make you look like you’re telling ghost stories around the campfire.
There are many daylight lamps available that can provide quality lighting for those video chats when it’s later in the afternoon or cloudy.
Position your lamp behind your camera and make sure to test the light levels before your call begins. White light can sometimes be too strong on camera, so opt for softer light bulbs if possible.
Making small improvements to your home office can drastically improve the quality of your video conference calls and productivity. Whether you’re taking advantage of natural light or adjusting your window treatments and lamps to achieve the perfect lighting, Blinds.com wants to help take the stress out of your video conference calls.
For more tips on working from home, click here.
Natural Light for Conference Calls
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