I thought our level of privacy had totally gone out the window pre-Corona virus, but now, our entire world is exposed as we try to “carry on with business as usual” from the comfort of our homes, in our pajamas. Our home is now where we spend ALL OF OUR TIME, where we conduct our business, and as such, our home environment needs to represent and reflect the professional image we want to put out to the world.
I can no longer count the number of Zoom sessions under my belt since Covid-19; courses range from kids schooling to informational webinars to those life-saving online yoga and meditation sessions. Each Zoom link is a crumb trail to a voyeur’s delight, offering a glimpse, or often a full-blown view of your pad, your lion’s den, the place you call home. Within 3 seconds, your customers are making judgments, evaluations, and assumptions about you and your brand based on these viewings. So, it is worth the effort to put some creative thought and attention to making your space attractive. Does this mean you have to go out and completely redecorate your home? If you can afford to, I’d love to help you out there. However, it doesn’t take a lot to make a sound, first home/work impression. Here are a few simple steps you can take to create a professional, polished image as you conduct business from home.
1. Stash the broom, the mop, the stack of mail, and those five times worn-before-washing t-shirts hanging on the door.
No need to overwhelm yourself with perfection; just think, de-clutter! When you are conducting video-based business, avoid distracting your viewer by removing items that would typically be stored in their proper place. Business for many is dryer than the Arizona desert, so losing your audience’s attention to the mess behind you is not a mistake many can afford to make right now.
2. Create a clean and simple backdrop that is professional and creates an image that reflects you and your brand.
An excellent collection of books on the bookshelf, a healthy plant, and an eye-pleasing piece of art or collection of art on the wall behind you make a polished, professional statement. A minimalist backdrop is always a great choice too. Consider painting an accent wall and moving some items around to allow for workspace. Consider a space that provides the privacy you need to put your best foot forward, even if it is while wearing your bunny slippers. If you live in an apartment like me, this could mean transforming your dining room into an office or making it dual purpose. Here is an excellent example of how to do that with minimal effort. Finally, you could always take the easy way out and select one of those doozies fake backdrops available on your Zoom app, but hey, then what would you do with all that free time on your hands? Stay safe, stay put, and give a shout out should you need some tips on staging and designing your home office.