Zoom. The essential workplace tool that I didn’t know existed until recently. When I say recently, I’m talking about a certain pandemic that has ushered us all into our homes and kept us all indoors for quite some time. I’ve used Zoom for pretty much everything at this point – my online tutoring sessions, online training days for work, recording presentations, you name it.
I must be a master of the Zoom attire at this point – the smart top and PJ bottoms combo is finally enjoying its much-deserved moment in fashion history.
That being said, working online brings a whole new set of challenges. Whilst you may save some time on the daily commute, holding meetings via webcam is quite a different story. Here are a few things I like to do before my Zoom calls, being one of these awkward potatoes who simultaneously can’t handle looking at themselves on camera AND spend most of the call looking at themselves on camera.
Your background matters.
Besides your face, your background is the first thing your colleagues see when you turn your webcam on. First impressions are hugely important – we’ve heard that one a million times now. The most pristine white blouse in the world won’t be distracting anyone from the takeaway pizza boxes and laundry on your floor. I like to do a quick check of my screen and what the other call participants will be seeing before I join a meeting – a few seconds spent now may save you a great deal of embarrassment later on! If you need a little extra help, virtual backgrounds might just be the answer.
Keep your image clean.
I am incredibly self-conscious. Even more so when I am hyperaware of the fact that everyone will be looking at my face on camera when I am speaking. It helps to take the extra time beforehand to find a spot with plenty of natural light, and a decent angle that keeps my double chin under control. Whilst it is no secret that I indulge in the smart top/PJ bottoms dress code much too often during my Zoom calls, the way you dress has a huge impact on your frame of mind. A swanky cardigan and the right pair of glasses might just make all the difference (check out www.eyeglasses.com if you’re a bit of a sucker for online shopping like me).
Bad hair days just got easier.
Bad hair days are much, much easier to handle when you have a screen between you and everyone else. Greasy hair? No problem. Throw it up into a bun or go with the old dry shampoo or talcum powder trick. Alternatively, the slicked back ponytail might be an option. If all else fails, you’ll just have particularly glossy hair on camera. Last time I checked, that wasn’t a bad thing at all.
Quick touch ups are everything.
The camera seems to have a way of washing me out and giving me the “I haven’t slept in ten years” look – very trendy amongst key workers at the moment. Strategically applied makeup can make all the difference here. A little concealer underneath my eyes, some mascara and a touch of blusher/tinted lip balm does wonders for me (at least I haven’t been told otherwise). The idea is to add a hint of colour to your features, the contrast instantly perks you up and gets you camera ready. I also just couldn’t resist throwing a beauty tip into this one.
Have you used Zoom for your work recently? I keep hearing that it might just be the new normal (along with many other things), and I’m not altogether displeased with the idea. The whiteboard function is oddly satisfying. At least I think it is.
Until next time.
Disclaimer: All images used in this post were obtained from and edited on Canva for thenellybean.