The age of the pandemic has more people working remotely than ever before. And amid these trying times, many of us have come to appreciate the perks of this arrangement greatly. It’s nice to spend more time with your family and wear athleisure around the clock. Yet even in the virtual office, impressions matter. You might no longer have to observe a strict dress code, but you should still make an effort.
Workers aren’t the only ones adjusting to a remote environment. Managers, too, might be struggling to cover all bases and identify various performance issues. In the process, the individual employee’s career advancement can be neglected.
In a traditional office, dressing appropriately conveys the sense that you’re serious about your job.
It’s not necessarily about catching the boss’s eye but giving off the right impression. And when working remotely, you can invest similar attention to detail in the one area where visual interfacing remains possible: video calls.
The simplest fix to improve the way you look on a video call is through better lighting. And the solutions here vary greatly in cost as well as effectiveness.
On the one hand, you might find it easy to throw open more windows and clean the glass while you’re at it, thus letting more natural light into your home office. It’s a quick fix, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem and might not be feasible for those who live in crowded urban spaces.
Shopping for photographic specialty equipment, on the other hand, is bound to give impressive results. A beauty dish, octagon softbox, or other lighting modifiers can make you look like a professional vlogger at work.
Most remote workers will want to find some reasonable middle ground. A supplier like LED Direct will offer a wide variety of energy-efficient lighting solutions, along with expert product advice.
You can also pick up some tips for effective lighting with a quick study of photography. Successful photographers manipulate light in an attempt to recreate natural images. We find it pleasant to see each other outdoors on a sunny day. Position any light source accordingly, and diffuse the light to avoid harsh exposure or sharp shadows, and the visual effect will immediately improve.
Lighting might be the single most influential factor in how good you look on a video call. But it’s not the only area in which small improvements can go a long way.
Upgrading your equipment can yield several benefits. For instance, a separate webcam frees you from the restrictions of whatever is built into your device. You can position it at a more favorable angle and avoid the effects of distortion from being too close to the lens.
Another improvement can be made through the judicious application of makeup. Women might not want to get back into this time-consuming routine after settling into the groove of remote work. Men might not feel comfortable applying makeup in the first place.
It doesn’t have to entail such a hassle, though. All you really need to do is ensure that your skin looks good. A small amount of concealer or brightening eye drops will go a long way towards concealing the effects of fatigue or lack of sleep. Regular use of moisturizers will likewise go a long way towards making you look fresh in every virtual meeting.
Video conferencing software is a valuable tool to help us stay connected and enable productivity and drain our energy. This phenomenon is informally known as ‘Zoom fatigue.’ And it stems from the fact that our minds have a more difficult time processing visual cues and paying attention in virtual conversations.
Visual improvements on your end are a great help in this regard. But it also pays to be mindful of your overall role in increasing that visual clutter on everyone else’s screen.
When you’re not speaking or being directly addressed, turn off your video along with the audio. It will remove a layer of distraction from everyone else’s screen. It’s a small step towards facilitating the smooth flow of conversation that happens naturally during face-to-face interactions.
These small adjustments aren’t intended to make you stand out in a virtual office environment. Instead, they make working remotely with you a more pleasant experience.
We might be socially distanced now and operating out of home offices, but we still respond positively to favorable impressions. Make yours count, and use it in your favor. Combined with your continued efforts to work hard and keep on learning, those improved perceptions can help nudge your career progress along the way.