Improving Home Office Video Conferencing
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
As we are spending more time working and socializing from home, now is the time to make the most of our video conferencing technology! BANDWIDTH TEST Staying connected is more important than ever - so it’s a great place to start! Make sure everyone in your house is staying connected at high speeds by doing an online speed test. These tests are available through your carrier or through the office of the Attorney General. Here are some quick links to test your internet speed:
With everyone staying in, downloading, streaming and chatting - the network is under a heavy load. Older systems may become especially slow, and you may not be able to get the speed you need. Have our Technology Advisor do a complete test of your network so you can stay connected!
IMPROVING YOUR IMAGE AND INTELLIGIBILITY Using video conference programs like Zoom, Skype, Teams or others has become our new normal. This technology should feel like you’re still in the room with your colleagues, not like you’re trying to see each other through a dirty window or talk from the bottom of a well! Set up a professional backdrop and some good lighting (more on these later). Using a lapel mic or quality speakerphone may be the difference between a clear and efficient meeting rather than a meeting that takes longer because of misunderstandings and repeating! LIGHTING Looking your best and feeling your best makes the best impression on who you are video conferencing with. Many homes have overhead lighting, which can give you an unfortunate 'raccoon eye’ look over video. Natural light is best, but if it’s cloudy, you don’t have that perfect window, or you just want some consistency - setting up direct lighting is your best bet. Your camera is a component too, as cameras built into laptops may have limited light capability. Diffused soft light protects your eyes, and is the most flattering. You can test this by closing your eyes while the light is on - if you can still see the light, it’s too bright! If you’re in a dark room, or just burning the midnight oil, an external camera may be better. In a pinch, even the brightness of your screen when you put a white background on can make a big difference. You may have to play around with your set up until you get it just right - especially if you wear glasses that might reflect light into the camera. Just like the perfect angle and lighting for taking a photo, finding the right set up for video conferencing makes you look and feel confident. BACKGROUND While working from home, you try to do everything you can to keep meetings and presentations engaging and professional. The last thing you want is to worry about your colleagues being distracted by your cat in the background, or the camera catching a pile of laundry! A green screen background gives you privacy, keeps your colleagues focused on you and not the room you’re in, and has multiple adaptable features. The green screen can give you a nice, opaque clean background or can transport you to the Alps, or on a boat in the Bahamas! Likely more useful, you can superimpose your logo, a video, the name of your presentation, or any other helpful graphics. If setting up a green screen isn’t for you, especially if you’re lucky to have a designated home office, check out features in video conferencing programs that blur your background. There are so many tools right at your fingertips to make sure your video keeps you in the spotlight. DRESSING FOR SUCCESS ON VIDEO Working from home might mean you’ve traded shiny shoes for slippers - but you can still dress for success! The most important thing to consider is color. You want to wear something that contrasts enough with your background so you’re not just a floating head, but isn’t so bold that your colleagues are distracted. Keeping your hair, makeup, and presentation on par with being in the office makes you look and feel better! Don’t forget that in the small view of the video, your head and torso is all they can see, you’re not in a conference room or office together where they can look out the window - so make the effort and it will make a good impression. Confident and energetic posture is important for your back and for how you appear on screen. Lock your chair in a good position and consider raising your screen so your camera isn’t looking up at you. Remember, if you look good, you’ll feel good! RECORD A MIRROR SESSION You wouldn’t leave the house without looking in the mirror, so do the same for your video conferences! When you’re setting up your space, lighting, background, camera, and microphone - record a test and play it back. Check out how the picture and sound might be different on various devices like a smart TV, laptop, desktop, phone, or tablet. Just like hearing your voice recorded - you may not look and sound the way you think you do! Using this mirror technique will give you the peace of mind that you are coming across the way you want to. PROFESSIONAL VIDEO CONFERENCE SOUND BAR WITH TRACKING CAMERA You may have a beautiful set up at your desk, but sometimes you want to stand to give a presentation - or have a family group video call on the couch. Instead of trying to cram your family around your work space, or stand in front of your desk - make your TV room your second video station! A built in mic and camera can track you as you move around the room and even zoom in. You can control your presentation from your iPad to make your video presentation more engaging. On the weekend, have a video hang out with family and friends or a virtual happy hour - you’ll feel like they’ve right there with you!
ACOUSTICS What you have to say on your video conference or family call is important, so don’t let bad acoustics get in your way. Depending on the room, your voice may reflect off different surfaces, causing an echo that gets amplified through the mic. This can make any call frustrating, unintelligible, and unproductive. But don’t worry, an echo can be fixed by adding sound panels to the walls and ceiling and thick curtains on large windows. These will absorb the sound so you come through the mic clearly. A more sophisticated mic than the one built into your computer can help too. A small boom mic with a wireless pack is our favorite because you can move around without getting tangled up in wires. Lapel mics are nice too, just make sure it’s well positioned and isn’t getting caught up in your clothing. With these tweaks, you’ll come through loud and clear. SUPPORT Our clients’ satisfaction and safety remain our top priority during this time. We believe that technology is one of our greatest resources as we all navigate new ways to work, socialize and connect from home. Our team has expertise in all of the video conferencing platforms you may use, such as Zoom, Webex, and Teams. Our employees are trained and equipped with full protective gear and we monitor their health to ensure they don’t work if there’s a chance of COVID-19 in their families or if they show any symptoms. We work safely for you so you can work safely from home! Here are some of the items we recommended to make your experience working and socializing from home efficient, effective and enjoyable!