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Best Home Office Background Ideas for Video Conference Calls

With the craziness that the pandemic has left in its wake, some things may have changed for good. One such thing is meeting in person for all our work needs. Many companies have switched to virtual meetings in the long run.

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This new system is great but comes with its own set of drawbacks. There are the easily remedied problems of unmuted problems and the harder to fix problems like bad wifi connections.

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One such problem is virtual backgrounds. As video conference calls have grown in popularity, so has employers’ desire for employees to turn on their cameras. 

project manager on video call

With many employees still working from home, turning on cameras during meetings has led to some awkward interactions, pictures, and videos that have been spread across the internet.

Business meetings are professional events. Like our professional outfit and business attire, if our camera is on for our meeting, then our background needs to reflect professionalism as well. We can not take the time to dress up for the meeting when our house is a wreck in the background. Professionalism has changed as much as our work location has. 

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What Are the Choices?

There are two choices for backgrounds in those video conference calls. The first option is to actually clean up and organize what is actually behind. The second option would be to download and apply a virtual background. 

The decision is solely up to each person because it depends on them. Some jobs do not allow virtual backgrounds or backdrop curtains for your home office.

While other jobs do not care if you use one or encourage it. Some of us cannot change our physical background, so a virtual download is necessary. It will come down to each person’s job and preference within their job allowances. 

Making Your Background More Professional

There are quite a few things you can do or change to help elevate your professionalism in your video conference calls.

Some tips to elevate our home office background for video calls are the best lighting and positioning can be applied to virtual backgrounds and your actual background but, others are specific due to your choice.

Home offices can be redecorated to be more professional and aesthetically pleasing

Using Your Actual Background

There is nothing wrong with just using your actual feed. It can be refreshing and much easier for you to simply turn on your camera and not worry about having to apply a backdrop filter.

clean and neutral work environment

There are plenty of pros to using what is really behind you in your office at home in virtual meetings. 

However, there are some things you have to keep in mind when you decide to use what is actually behind you. Here are a few tips to guide your searching when you begin to look for a virtual background:

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  • Keep it clean. We all know it is unprofessional to have laundry and dogs running wild behind us; it is also unprofessional to have clutter and other unnecessary things in your background as well. Family pictures, books, trophies, awards, distracting wall art, and other items may be distracting and need to be removed before calling from there. 
  • Use the best light. Bad lighting can lead to dark video calls cut short. We do not want awkward lights in weird places or our faces in the shadows. 
  • Position your camera in the right place. This is usually about a foot or so away from you, but that depends on your preference. 
  • Decorate for success. Think about how you would have decorated your space if you still worked in person. Decorate your home office background similarly and decorate with work appropriate art prints.  
  • Organize! If you want to use what is behind you, then get a bookcase or something similar to help organize and professionalize your space. 

How To Pick The Right Background

It can be difficult to make the right choice for your background because there are so many options available now! It can be fun to play around with all our options, but we need to remember that these meetings are for work. 

Here is what to avoid and what to look for:

  • Look for a neutral background.
  • Avoid cluttered or busy backgrounds because they are visually too loud. (Do not pick a screen that has a lot of things going on in the background as it distracts from what is important: you.)
  • Avoid windows. Windows distract and can cause lighting issues. 
  • Find a backdrop that contrasts well with you and hides all that’s behind you. 
  • Pick something appropriate for the setting. 

How To Download Virtual Home Office Backgrounds

It is best to follow the platform instructions based on what your company uses when it comes to the specifics of applying your digital background.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts all may share the basics of the process but they all have different tools and ways of applying the background. Check their website if you are struggling.

neutral home office background

The great news about how commonplace virtual meetings are is that the demand for professional backgrounds has skyrocketed.

Each platform mentioned (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) has home office background curtains available. If you do not like their options, you can always download your own. 

A quick Google search of virtual backgrounds reveals hundreds of options. Remember to keep in mind the things that should and should not be present in the backdrop of any business meeting. 

We try to avoid hyper-realistic backgrounds when we are looking for the best home office background for zoom, because as lifelike or photographic as they may be, people can tell they are not real, as something just feels off. Do not be afraid to search some free stock image sites like Unsplash. Look up free home office background images for zoom to find what you are looking for. 

Last Minute Thoughts

With the mass number of options simply available, take care to evaluate each choice properly. Professionalism is still vital even when business is conducted through a screen. Your background has become an extension of your professionalism and the mindset you are entering the meeting with.  

Keep in mind the tone of your company or business and the message you wish to get across. Fun backgrounds and curtains can relieve awkwardness and pressure when used at the right moment. But plain backdrops that seem dull will never cause a problem like a beach backdrop would. 

Additionally, finding a quiet place guaranteed to be free from interruptions is vital. Pets and children are adorable but should not be wandering into serious business discussions and important meetings. Hearing chatter in the background is very distracting, leading the others in the meeting unable to clearly understand or focus on what is trying to be explained. 

Look for what fits the best into the situation. Know the guidelines for your company on virtual backgrounds. Evaluate each background you like to find the one that fits you and your job best.