Now that so many office workers are partially or fully working from home, there’s a lot less thrill in decorating your desk and a lot more fun to be had with the backgrounds you choose to use in your daily webcalls. Especially when you’re connecting with coworkers for a casual chat, custom Zoom backgrounds are a fun way to start the conversation (and cover up any home messes you might have behind you).
For our money, we think video chats are the perfect place to try your dream office on for size. These backgrounds allow you to play the part of your favorite fictional characters for a day, even if the reality is much further away.
Zoom Backgrounds to Make You Feel Rich & Powerful
Tony Stark’s Lab
Many people brought their second monitor into their home office when they transitioned to remote work this year, but it’s safe to say no one has nearly as much tech as Tony Stark. Get inspired to solve the world’s problems from the laboratory of the world’s wealthiest superhero.
The Library at Downton Abbey
You may not spend your workdays writing letters to countesses or managing your household staff’s salaries. But anyone would jump at the opportunity to work from this grand English estate for a day. (Bonus: Unlike at the Abbey itself, you’ll have Wi-Fi.)
The Bluth Company Boardroom
Whether or not they managed their money well, the Bluth family of “Arrested Development” certainly had enough of it to cover their many mistakes and misdeeds. Try making the company boardroom your setting for the day, and if it doesn’t work out, remember: There’s always money in the banana stand.
Blair Waldorf’s Apartment
There are few more glamorous homes to work from than the Upper East Side apartment of “Gossip Girl’s” infamous socialite, Blair Waldorf. Even the main hall looks more comfortable than most people’s home offices.
Don Draper’s Office
He may not have been a millionaire, but “Mad Men’s” Don Draper certainly had the confidence of a wealthy man. If you’re looking to try out old-school influencing, his office at Sterling Cooper is the place to do it.
The Rose Family Mansion
You may not recognize it right away since most of “Schitt’s Creek” occurs after the Rose family’s fall from grace. But the few flashbacks that feature their former mansion are as glitzy as it gets.
Miranda Priestly’s Office
The intimidating Editor-in-Chief of “Runway” magazine (as seen in “The Devil Wears Prada”) never explicitly states what kind of wealth she possesses. But it’s safe to say that if she could get an advance copy of “Harry Potter” for her kids, her net worth would have to be pretty high. You too can feel like a high-powered executive with this background.
Sherlock Holmes’ Study
You’d never be able to tell by how Sherlock maintains his home, but we know from conversations with his brother Mycroft that the Holmeses’ net worth is in the millions (at least in the BBC’s interpretation of the series). And what better place to think than where the world’s greatest detective solves his mysteries?
Tips for Perfecting Your Zoom Call Etiquette
No one wants to be the person on the conference call who forgot to mute their microphone or who doesn’t realize their dirty dishes are visible over their shoulder. Here are a few keys for Zoom success so you stay professional, even when you’re having a little fun with your backdrop.
- Mute Yourself When You’re Listening or Taking Notes. You may not think your typing is audible, but it often is. And others on the call can’t see what you’re doing, so there’s no way for them to know you’re not zoned out and browsing the web while pretending to listen.
- Take Your Calls at Your Desk, Even if Your Video Is Turned Off. Especially on audio-only calls, many people move to a more comfortable spot or even do some stretching since their video is turned off. But it’s all too easy to accidentally hit the wrong key and reveal to the entire company that you’re in a downward-facing dog mid-presentation. So, this is a habit that’s better to skip.
- Set Up Your Background Before You Call In. If you do use a background, whether it’s a professional one or a more creative alternative, be upload it in Zoom ahead of the call so you’re ready to chat as soon as you log on.
- Call From a Phone if Your Internet Connection Is Spotty. If your computer’s video or audio are lagging, call in via your phone to establish steady audio instead of having to fiddle with your connection throughout the call.
Most importantly, take opportunities to have fun when you can! It may not seem like it, but finding ways to insert a little levity into your daily workflow is essential to ensure you don’t burn out. When you’re working from home full time, finding ways to stay emotionally engaged and mentally stimulated can make all the difference when it comes to your quality of life — and your work.