Avoid the Virtual Chaos: How to Prep Your Home Office for a Video Call
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
By Brett Neas
If you’re working from home, you’ve probably used a video conference tool a time or two. There are the professional participants: the ones that have their audio and video mastered, like a confessional from The Bachelor (ugh, Pete). Then there is the other side of the contributors, the ones not so “dialed-in.” The ones that look, well… not so put together. We call this “virtual chaos.”
If you’ve got a bad setup, whether it’s the lighting, the audio, or the background, chances are you’re going to hear about it… for a while. So, let’s prevent the ridicule. Here are some simple tips for prepping your home office and avoiding virtual chaos while on a video conference call.
1) Lighting- Avoid mixing different light sources. Locate your primary light source in your room. Try not to go overhead. A light source slight to the side of your face is what we’re shooting for, whether it’s a desk lamp tilted up, open blinds during the day, or even an affordable ring light.
2) Chair- Steer clear of rolling chairs. Casters can be loud, and they will cause you to slide slightly while in frame.
3) Doors nearby? Close ‘em! They prevent accidental interruptions. Open doors, even in adjacent rooms, can distract attendees and yourself.
4) Headphones/Earbuds? Wear ‘em! Speakers output, microphones input. If they are too close to one another, they will cause an audio feedback loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loop. Headphones or earbuds will prevent this.
5) Spare rug lying around? Toss it down. It will help reduce any echo in your office.
6) Background- Focus on reducing clutter. It prevents distractions and avoids awkward questions. Plants and bookcases work as great background pieces. Remember, not too personal, not too professional.
7) Should you test your audio and video before every meeting? Yes! Verify and test the camera and microphone you intend to use. You don’t want to be that person who has to answer “Is your mic on?” or “Why can’t we see you?”
It doesn’t take long to make some small but effective changes to your space. So, when you’ve got some free time, walk back into that office and start reducing your virtual chaos.