While some might have thought remote employment was a temporary solution, many professionals predict working from home is here to stay. While some people and organizations are thriving in this new setting, others are struggling to maintain a productive routine and look professional on video calls. If you have found any challenges in working professionally from home or want to create a home office space that represents your business, this article is for you.
Why Your Home Office Matters For Your Business
If you watched the news at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may have noticed that some anchors and journalists had stunning backgrounds and home office spaces, and others did not. This greatly impacted how they came across on television.
Those who had uncluttered backgrounds, sharp lighting and smart attire appeared much more professional than those who had disorganized, poorly lit spaces. If this was true for news anchors, you can bet it’s also true for your online meetings.
We all try our best to look presentable when we go to the central office. We dress appropriately and keep our space neat and organized because we want to foster positive connections with our employers, clients and peers. As a remote worker, our office space – whether that’s a kitchen table or TV tray on the couch – is affected by the rest of our home life. While peers will be understanding of an interruption from a child or pet, that doesn’t absolve us of being presentable to our clients and co-workers. This is especially true in video calls.
Because we rely so heavily on video calls, it’s important we take a look at the background space and lighting in our home offices, as well as our own apparel. How do you create a space that looks nice, especially if you live in a small space? You don’t want people at work to see all your personal belongings, such as your bed or your dresser top, but you don’t have many options for where to set up your video camera. Here are some tips to create a home office space that is ready for work.
Your Home Office Background
The background of your video call is more important than you think. You have several options for setting up a background. You can create a space in your home office, you can use a backdrop or you can use a virtual background.
Creating A Space In Your Work From Home Office
You don’t need a whole production studio to create a professional home office setting. What you present behind you will say a lot about who you are, so you want to set up a home office background that is aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Start with what’s against the wall. Is it an empty space? Or do you have a cluttered bookshelf? A well-designed wall space needs to be organized. Time to clean up! It’s also better if it’s not completely blank. Hang a picture on the wall or move a small dresser against it. Pay attention to the small details, like knickknack decorations or your shelf full of books.
Bookshelves also make excellent backgrounds. It shows that you are a well-read individual; just make sure your books are stacked and organized.
You don’t want to include too much furniture if you can help it, as too many items make the space appear claustrophobic. Stick to one piece of large furniture and one to two small pieces. Play around with how you organize your furniture. The space should feel balanced with you in the center. That said, you should avoid placing large items on either side of you, as this will help make you the center focus. Also stay away from doors and pathways behind you. While we can’t always avoid interruptions in our home offices, we can control who ends up in the “shot.”
Using A Backdrop In Your Home Office
Backdrops can be incredibly useful. They hide your room and are decent to look at. They don’t appear as nice as a physical home office space, but, depending on your living situation, they could be a functional go-to option.
The Benefits Of Virtual Backgrounds
Virtual backgrounds are a feature in video conferencing applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. They are a filter image that will appear around you when you are on a video call. These can be fun as you can change them easily, but they are not always reliable. Your hair, your background and your camera all affect how well they fill around you, so some of you may get cut off. Depending on who you are talking to, this can appear unprofessional. If you have an extremely messy space behind you, however, this option is better than showing the mess.
Lighting Your Home Workspace
Lighting your home office so that you look clear on a video call can be tricky. To get the best lighting, you need a bright light facing you from the front. You want the light to cover your whole face and upper body evenly. Avoid lights from the sides or behind, as these will cast unwanted shadows over your face. The best option is to purchase a video conferencing light ring. Also take note of the natural light sources around you. Open curtains, as long as they are not behind you, and adjust your screen brightness so that you get enough light without getting a glare.
Where To Sit
Sit directly in front of your camera with your camera right at eye level or just a slight bit higher. You don’t want to have your camera lower than your face, as this may not be a flattering angle. To raise your camera, you can set your laptop or monitor on several large books or purchase a monitor stand. Either way, get your camera high enough to give people a face-to-face view of you during your video calls.
Also, keep in mind not to sit too close to your monitor. This is unhealthy for your eyes and doesn’t look quite right on video calls. Sit about 20 inches away from your screen – that’s about an arm’s length. This will give a good full view of your face and shoulders, which is what you want your peers to see through the camera.
Invest In Your Home Office
Working from home has been the norm for several years now; therefore, it may be prudent to invest in some quality technology. Your $10 webcam may work for now, but if you’re using it daily, investing in a quality webcam may be something to think about. A higher-end camera will offer a clearer image and mic audio. Here are the top ranked web and conference cameras for 2023.
Your computer is also something to think about. If you’re working on a tiny laptop screen, hunched over all day, consider investing in a desktop similar to one you would use in the office. Having a computer that is the most functional will pay off in the long run. You may also want to consider a dual monitor system. This allows you to view multiple screens at once and work more efficiently.
Also look at your home office furniture. If possible, invest in a sturdy desk and ergonomic chair. You’re sitting at this space for multiple hours in a day, you want to be comfortable. Spending money on your home office can be difficult, but for many of us that money will pay dividends in the long term.
Tips To Marketing Your Business Remotely
Now that we’ve talked about what you can do to present yourself professionally while working from home, let’s talk about the bigger picture: your business. Businesses are struggling in this hybrid environment, but there are tricks to marketing your business that will ensure your message reaches your audience.
Connect With Your Customers
When marketing your business, the number one rule to effective marketing is to engage with your customers. Connect with them through social media, email marketing or even printed materials. What’s important is to let your customers know you are still there and ready to serve them.
Also, be sensitive toward the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are struggling or scared in these times, so a reassuring voice that everything is going to be OK will go a long way in reaching your customers on a personal level.
Optimize Your Social Media Marketing
In our increasingly digital world, connecting on social media is a must for businesses. Take advantage of this situation. Optimize all your social media accounts so your profiles are easy to find and include all the information you want to convey to your audience. Get online daily and engage with your customers.
One effective way to connect with members of your audience is by giving them behind-the-scenes looks at your company. This is where your work from home office can pay dividends. Share images of your office space or the remote workspaces of your employees. Doing so reminds your customers of the people that make up your company.
Also, post new content daily or, at least weekly. This will keep your potential and returning customers coming back for more!
Tips For Working From Home
Working from home offers a lot of freedom to businesses, but not everything is perfect. Remote employment also means more distractions. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks to help you while working from home. Let’s get started!
Stick To A Schedule
One important action that affects your work-life balance immensely is sticking to a routine schedule. While working from home, we tend to get disorganized about when we start and finish work. Stick to a schedule like you normally would if you were going into the office.
Apps like ClickUp and RescueTime can help you monitor how long you work. Knowing your general work habits enables you to schedule your workload accordingly. If you work best in the mornings, plan to work on the most difficult tasks then and leave easier tasks for the afternoon when you’re not as focused, or vice versa. This is one method to keeping focused while working from home.
Take Regular Breaks
A one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks is the standard break time for most U.S. companies. Letting your mind rest and think about different things helps you refresh your focus. If possible, get up and walk around after every hour. This benefits your mind and your body.
Create A Morning Routine
Working from home throws off all our morning rituals, but how you prepare yourself in the morning affects how you work all day long. It’s important to create a healthy morning routine to get you going.
Here are some tips to a healthy morning routine:
- Get Up At A Reasonable Hour: This means setting your alarm clock the night before and getting up when it goes off so you won’t be late. Even though many of us have flexible work schedules, set a time to start work every day and be on time.
- Fuel Your Body: Make sure to eat a well-balanced breakfast and get some caffeine if you need it. Try to take a walk, do yoga or get some form of exercise to get your blood moving. This will help your brain function better.
- Dress For Success: It might be tempting to stay in your pajamas, but this may make it difficult to transition between work and leisure time.
Your morning routine needs to be designed for you to get mentally and physically prepared to do your best at work. Here are some suggestions for morning activities to help you get going.
Establish A Designated Workspace
We’ve already talked about how to set up the perfect home office space for video calls. You probably already have a space designated for work, but if you don’t, you need to create one.
A big problem with working from home is separating work life from home life. By creating a designated workspace, you signal to your brain that this is the space you work. Ideally, we all would have an organized office space with everything we need for our jobs: a desk, great Wi-Fi, quiet surroundings and so on. This is not the case for everyone, however. Some of us live in small apartments, or maybe every room is occupied by kids. If that’s the case, designate a flat surface and place to sit that you can dedicate to work and work alone. This can simply be a separate chair at the family table that is for working from home and not any other activity. By establishing this designated workspace, you’re telling your mind that when you are there, it’s time to work.
Need Help Delegating Your Work From Home Marketing?
Even if you don’t work from home, marketing for your business can be difficult. Three Girls Media offers full-service marketing services, from monthly SEO services to social media management and more. We can help your remote work business succeed at a rate you can afford. Give us a call at 360-955-1410 or visit our contact us page to get in touch and schedule your free consultation today!
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