I was just talking to a friend last night who’s working from home, as many workers are around the world, and we were talking and laughing about using the needed technology. My friend was using some type of Intranet platform, while others of us are using Zoom or other applications such as GotoMeeting.
The New York Times even had an article about working from home. I had to laugh – the writer mentioned people don’t realize how wide the Zoom camera lens is and are walking around their home office half naked, showing extremely slovenly surroundings, etc. Did you know your computer has a little camera lens right in the middle of your screen? Put tape over it if you don’t want people to see you and your “home” office.
Or, if you are wearing a statement jacket like this navy jacket I am wearing by Polo, smile for the camera and enjoy your appearance in meetings on Zoom!
I have had to use Zoom or Come to Meeting for a couple of years now in my work on the board with the Association of Image Consultants International. Most of the time if I am not feeling very professional on the night call I put some type of jacket over whatever I am wearing even it it’s a T-shirt. I feel more professional, too, when I do that.
If online meetings are new to you, here are some tips:
- Do the ZoomGoToMeeting tutorial. It’s easy, very helpful. Why? Suddenly you are now being judged on your “online” presence, not just your Brainiac skills. You don’t want to look like the person who can’t learn or adapt. We all know those who adapt survive, right? Practice with family members if you must.
- If you don’t want to or are not expected to be on camera, put tape over the camera on your laptop or PC. Or if calling in is an option, do it!
- If your “home office” is less than desirable or if cleaning is not something you do often, don’t present that image to your work world. Change your background by going to “Settings” on Zoom. I plan to do that today. I think I will pick the soothing, park and tree scene.
- If you are on camera, dress head to toe- just in case you get up suddenly and realize you don’t have pants on. Has anyone see the photo of the pastor doing a sermon online with a suit and tie and then his shorts? He looked great at the top…
- After you are dressed head to toe, make a little more effort with the top half that is most seen on the camera. Guys and gals: make sure your shirt or blouse is not wrinkled or dirty. If it is, cover it up with a blazer or sweater. If you’d like to stand out, wear a fun coverup color or ladies some colorful jewelry or scarves or guys, a bright pocket square. I am a huge fan of the knit blazer for men and women. They are comfy yet structured enough to look neat and professional.
- Beyond what you wear, make sure your grooming is pristine. I haven’t gotten a manicure, but I do take time to file my nails and put on a neutral polish. No one wants to see dirty nails or hair. Guys, if you can’t go to the barber, wash your hair, put it in a ponytail or ask a friend to trim your hair.
- I am trying to put my makeup on and comb my hair every morning right after I make my bed. I feel so much more productive, and you will, too.
- Statistics have proved that those who look more successful and pulled together, feel that way!
Believe me — you want to look as productive, smart and successful as you can–even when you’re not in the office.
Keep it sassy, Indy.
Beth Divine, MA
AICI Certified Image Consultant