If you’re like most of us, you’re spending majority of your time in quarantine toggling between Zoom meetings. Whether you’re logging on for business purposes or for a virtual happy hour, let’s face it: you’re paying more attention than you probably should to other people’s home office environments. All that fancy decor, those cluttered bookshelves and those strewn toys tell you plenty about the personal lives of your clients, customers and colleagues.
The thing is, your clients, customers and colleagues are also taking advantage of the window you’re providing into your own personal world. And unless you’re one of the blessed few, you’re probably not working in a stunning, airy office straight out of Home Beautiful.
Fortunately there’s an easy way to deflect those prying eyes: a virtual background. A virtual background overlays your “real” background with an image or video of your choice. With a few clicks of a button, you can position yourself in a setting that looks the part – and without the hassle of moving furniture or springing for a home makeover.
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry. Enough people are jumping on the virtual background bandwagon that there are plenty of resources available to you.
Here are a few of my favorites.
The stylish. High-end home goods store West Elm is offering a variety of stylish virtual backgrounds ranging from artfully eclectic Brooklyn-style lofts to sunny Palm Springs abodes. Pick any one to elevate your personal brand (and invite a touch of envy from your coworkers).
Also, on Zoom people have literally thought this was my home…one day friends, one day.
The professional. Pretend you’re still working in your corner office or making a boardroom pitch with these work-centric backgrounds from zoomvirtualbackgrounds.com and Shutterstock. Running the gamut of hipster coffee shops, millennial coworking spaces and penthouse gathering spaces, they’re ideal for those who want to embrace their inner C-suite exec.
The custom. DIY graphic design suite Canva has lent its point-and-click simplicity to Zoom backgrounds, with results that are bright, bold and on brand. Whether you want to simply add your logo or branding, or you’re looking for a themed background for a virtual networking event, Canva has the goods.
The fun. If you’re after a bit of levity, Pocket Lint has you covered with backgrounds from iconic TV shows, movies and games. Position yourself on the Simpsons’ couch, haunt the hallway from The Shining, or helm a meeting from the deck of the Starship Enterprise.
Once you’ve found your ideal background, here’s how to add it to Zoom in a few easy steps:
1. Launch Zoom and make sure you have your video on!
2. Where the video camera icon (and now should say “stop video” click the carrot arrow ^ to launch a menu, click “Choose Virtual Background”
3. Click the + sign in the upper right, select add image (or video)
4. Navigate to find the file you’d like to use for your background and Voila!
ProTip – to make the background seem a bit more realistic aim to match the lighting of the image to the lighting in real life
Here’s what I mean.
Now it’s your turn, share a screenshot of you on your favorite virtual background with us!