If you’re working typical 9-5 hours, choosing a spot in your home near a window that lets in natural light is your best bet. If you do not have a suitable location in your home, or you work during the evening or at night, you may want to look into obtaining a lamp that mimics daylight. Alternatively, setting up lamps either side of your webcam can help to avoid dark shadows and keep you visible on camera.
One downside of video calls as opposed to real-life meetings is the potential for internet connections to drop. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but to minimise this risk it is best to check beforehand that you are set up in a part of your home that receives a strong internet connection. It’s best to be as close to your WiFi router as possible, as this will reduce the risk of your signal dropping, but if you find yourself needing to be a substantial distance from it then it might be worth investigating WiFi network extenders or boosters.
If you’re about to have a video interview for the first time in a while, try making a test call to a friend before you have the real interview, so you can check that there are no issues. This also allows you to make sure you are able to sign into the appropriate software (Teams, Zoom, etc.) without any problems.
If you want to make a good impression with your potential employer, you should try to avoid setting up the call while you have piles of rubbish behind you - a blank or neutral background is the safest option for a video call. Bookshelves can also work well for a background (especially in interview cases where your book choices can signal your interests to the interviewer), although make sure to double-check that the titles on display are appropriate for a work setting.
If you are struggling to find a suitable neutral background against which to conduct your video call, Zoom and Teams include options to blur or add a static background to your video.
This one is more for team calls, but can also be beneficial while on one-to-one calls, especially if there is unavoidable background noise on one end of the conversation. A benefit of working from home means that it’s easy to grab a quick snack from the fridge, or continue eating your lunch during back-to-back meetings, but be considerate of your co-workers and turn off your microphone if you are eating during a call. Similarly, if you have small children or pets making noise, your partner decides it’s a good time to start vacuuming, or construction work is taking place outside, make sure your microphone is switched off. It’s generally good practice to keep your microphone off if you are in a group call and are not the one currently talking.
While some businesses do not enforce cameras to be switched on during calls, some others do, and you may also have to meet with clients or customers who are used to having visual calls as opposed to just voice.
Dress for the video camera as you would for going into the office - not only does this help make you look professional, it also helps to put your brain into “work mode” and establish a routine. Wearing pyjamas may feel more comfortable, but is not likely to impress potential or current employers and it may also make it more difficult for you to separate your work time from your leisure time.
Dressing the part is only one way to help you look presentable on camera. The other is minding your body language. Sit up straight in a suitable, comfortable chair and keep your eyes directed forward. If you find it difficult to maintain eye contact, you can look at the top of your screen (or anywhere near the webcam) and it will help you to appear focused. Constantly looking away at your phone or at the bottom of the screen may signal to your employer that you are not paying attention.
We offer tailored business insurance policies to suit your needs so that you can pick and choose the cover and limits required for your business. For more information visit our small business insurance page. Or call 0344 346 0409 to speak to a specialist adviser.
This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.
Alison Wild BCom (Hons), MAAT, MATT, Taxation Technician is a highly respected industry professional who has been working with and advising SMEs in areas including tax, pensions, insurance and marketing for over 25 years. She is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) and also has over 20 years' experience as a residential landlord.
Date: November 16, 2022
Category: Small Business