What does your background say about you?

As we now spend most of our days on Teams, Zoom and Skype, we can’t help looking around as we take a peak round people’s home office set-up. Some are neatly set up to portray a certain image, whilst others are happy to share their home chaos. So, what does your background say about you?

Bookshelves – This must be the most popular choice for business leaders, but also prevalent with reporters, politicians and presenters. With books as a background, in particular a full bookcase, you want to show you are intelligent, well-read and have a high IQ. Make sure you check what’s on the shelf first – as this may change first impressions – can I spot a copy of fifty shades of grey on the top shelf!?

Blank Canvas – This is for the private type who doesn’t want to let people into their homes. Either OCD with everything neatly organised, or the complete opposite trying to find a white wall away from the mess, toys and clothes racks. The latter is me!

Kitchen – You only tend to choose a kitchen background if you have a decent sized kitchen, an aga, nespresso machine and shiny appliances. Wealth. Homeliness. A calm set up with someone who takes the time to cook and bake. Clearly a household without kids, as my kids would be skirting round the kitchen for snacks every 10 minutes.

Paintings and Pictures – An artistic flair. Creative. Interested and interesting. For single impressive pieces of art this can come across as important, high-brow and exclusive, whereas a scattering of pictures portrays a more bohemian, laid back and unique vibe.

Curtains – One up from the blank canvass, showing a little personality but not much. Closed. Traditional. Formal. But with a level of warmth.

Plants – Green. Caring. Longing to be outside. Inclusive. A bit potty perhaps? When the camera is off likely to talk plants.

Zoom Background – Choose a picture. Any. The clown, the joker and behind the façade, there is a person who is fed up with remote working and craves human contact. Some fun can be had. You can all be down-under, or to celebrate a colleague’s birthday we all changed the background to his picture.

Zoombombing – something you can’t control. It can be distracting but can equally provide a much-needed level of humour. I particularly liked this recent post here where a husband lightens up meetings by appearing in the background in different Halloween costumes.

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