Pimp my video-conference

by Martin MacConnol – Apr 07, 2020

One unexpected joy of video conferencing is getting a glimpse into other people’s home lives. And here I’m talking not just about my team’s, but those moments on TV when our journalists, politicians and other national leaders give us a glimpse into what lies beneath the surface.

In fact, when all this is over, and flexi-working is the norm, I predict we will see the birth of a new mentoring/coaching industry: guidance on how to dress your home space so that it matches your brand, or at least the brand you want to project. If things get a lot worse I might do it myself, with an initial catalogue of ideas as follows:

The intellectual

You want to inject a sense of gravitas, authority and experience. Position yourself in front of a bookcase. Be sure to remove the Jodie Picoults and Liane Moriartys from view and replace with your Hilary Mantels, political biographies and the collected works of Shakespeare. In a time of crisis books which suggest sacrifice and resilience work well, think Bear Grylls not New York Grills. If you don’t have any suitable books, buy some. This currently is the must have look for all statesmen and women who are homeworking.

The multi-tasker

You want to show you are capable of juggling a lot of plates. Or you want to suggest that you have enough work to be getting on with and don’t need any more. Set up your laptop in the heart of your home. The kitchen is always good as you can pretty much guarantee that someone will walk through the shot or shout in the background at some point during the conversation. Works best if you have a family with at least one child pre-teenage years.

The undervalued resource

You want a pay rise and promotion. Create sympathy. Whether or not you have the space at home put your laptop somewhere that suggests you are working in a shoebox. Hunched over your machine on the stairs landing is a particularly good look, or if you are in a shared flat just next to a bathroom door that won’t quite close.

The relaxed, care-free spirit

If you are keen to show that nothing really phases you, do away with the home office look entirely. Set yourself up in the living room. Populate with scatter cushions and candles. In fine weather ensure you have a window or patio doors flung wide. A few coffee table books help complete this look. For real perfectionists get a large fluffy cat.

Mr/Ms Popular

Dig out all your old photo frames and print out as many pictures as you can from your computer. Set them up in serried lines behind and around you. Particularly good for weirding out colleagues who always had you pegged as the loner of the team. NB variants of this theme are Mr/Ms Sporty and Mr/Ms Musical.

Hostage in my own home

Again, another great look for those wanting to unsettle their colleagues. Position yourself next to an entirely blank wall, but ominously close to a radiator. Critically important: never vary your position on any call. If loved ones won’t complain, consider chalking up the days and weeks above the radiator.

Bond villain

If you’ve invested in the cat, and want to mix things up a bit, buy yourself a large white 60s chair and a Nehru jacket. Start all meetings facing away from the camera, until voices rise behind you when you swing round and say… “I’ve been expecting you Mr/Ms…”

If you’ve got any other ideas, do please share. My catalogue needs filling.

Published Apr 07, 2020

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