Put Your Pants on Last (and other small tweaks to make working at home work for you)

Put Your Pants on Last (and other small tweaks to make working at home work for you)

A few quick and dirty tricks to showing up at your best online

Recently, I have been receiving emails about working from home, mostly from people who have been working from home for a while. I am included in this lot. What I have not gotten from these emails are some of the most important tips that can make being online more comfortable and that work in a pinch.

Here are some of my hard-learned secrets…

Put your pants on last

I know this is the Clean Language Institute and it is still true that a provocative photo will catch your attention faster than anything…

And that’s what I wanted to have happen; your attention captured.

Most virtual meeting programs – Skype, Zoom, etc – only show what the camera sees and that is from your chest to the top of your head. You can wear anything (or nothing) below the waist and no one will know.

But don’t forget to turn your camera off if you get up from your desk. Not doing so would be tantamount to keeping your mic on when taking a bathroom break — and we’ve all seen that played out in the movies and on the news.

If you get up to grab a cuppa or head to the restroom for a break, THEN you MUST turn off your camera or EVERYONE will see what you have (or do not have) on below the waist.

Use Your Tech

Running late? Working from home in your pajama’s (we all do it)? Zoom has a feature that will let you touch up your appearance in a pinch.

Oooo. Scary — I just woke up and am late for a virtual meeting!


Throw on a cardigan or blouse and jump online. Zoom will smooth out your crazy hair and make you look like a million bucks (or at least a ten spot) in a jiff!

Worth a million bucks.

Go to Zoom > Preferences (move your cursor over the Zoom in your menu, choose preferences)
Choose Video (when inside the preference menu click on video)
Under my video, the third box down is “touch up my appearance”

This will smooth out your crazy hair and reduce any skin anomalies, coloration, etc., that happens to all of us. For those of you that are used to wearing makeup to work and get caught last minute on a video forum, this is a lifesaver.

Mirror Your Image

What you see if what you get.

If you are not used to using video technology it can be off-putting at times. One thing that most video technology lets you do is to mirror your image.

Why is this important?

If the mirror setting is not on your Skype/Zoom/Facetime or other video conferencing tool (Webex, Goto Meeting) when you move one direction your image on the screen will move in the opposite direction. You raise your right hand and it will look (TO YOU) as if your left hand is raising. The bottom line, it can be confusing. Not to mention all your facial asymmetries will stand out (TO YOU) and you’ll be like “WHAT is up with my face?”

For Zoom settings, follow the instructions above and when you get to Video preferences choose Mirror My Video.

*If when you see yourself on the screen it all looks normal (and like a mirror) — you move left, your image moves left, etc., that means that the mirror setting is already on.

Additional Tech that is cheap, easy, and useful

I also use a little program called iGlasses from ecamm.com. I use mine for Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime. It can help with lighting and your appearance.

Female Body Armor or Not?

It’s like the 1970’s all over again.

Not wearing your social body armor? Don’t worry!
When working from home, not everyone decks out the same way they do when heading to the office. Not only is it uncomfortable but at home, it is socially unnecessary.

Be Creative

Add a set of yoga blocks, dictionaries, or a shoebox under your laptop. It will raise the camera to eye level and help ensure that your image is cut off at the shoulders.
It also helps with the chin thing that happens to us as we age (male and female)

Men, Do This:

You only need to iron your sleeves and collar (if you wear a button-down).

The tidy area for video of a button-down shirt (You might want to get your cuffs if you talk with your hands)

A Polo style is always a winner in a pinch. But watch the arms!

Keep your sleeves down for video

Don’t do This

It may be comfy, but it is unprofessional and essentially showing up in your PJs — even if the t-shirt is horrendously expensive and handwoven personally by a local cotton grower. This is not an Einstein kinda move, just a lazy one. *remember video is from the shoulders up.

It was funnier when it was Mark Zuckerberg, but I can’t afford the legal fees.

Perhaps a new online clothing trend could be ‘shrug’ for men. Just a button-up shirt demi-top.

*a shrug is a half cardigan or shirt that is designed to only cover a woman’s shoulders and upper chest. Too bad dickies are sleeveless!

On a personal note

Most of us don’t live like this:

Barren, hotel-like environment

More of us live something like this…

Pictures of people, odd furniture, moments around the room.

Or if the whole family is home, this!

Imagine the toys and family room!

Aim your computer camera away from personal items in your environment. It is good practice to have your image space be as neutral as possible.

Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t invite the people you are meeting online to your home, then don’t invite them in virtually. Create a video environment that is neutral. Use a bookcase, a picture on the wall, a neutral wall as a backdrop for your online meeting space, or an area that does not have highly personal content.

And most important

Have some fun.

Let the camera work for you. After a while, you won’t be so conscious of being on camera and you will relax into the online meeting space environment.

After this pandemic is over some of you may go back to office spaces, some of you may find that your business becomes more hybrid — more video conferencing than previously and some office space work — and others of you may find you have enjoyed your (involuntary) foray into the world of online meetings and virtual work.

Be well, stay well, and may your loved ones also maintain their health during this very odd time.

Getting some fresh air sans make-up and with crazy hair

ps. for those of you who have made it to the bottom of this post I would like to offer you up to three complimentary Symbolic Modeling Mini 20-minute sessions to help you move through this most strange of times.

Just go to my contact page and let me know that you would like a complimentary session. Once I receive your message, I will contact you to set up a time to meet. I am making available 30 Symbolic Modeling Mini sessions each month through the end of May and will then reassess what is happening and where my energies might need to go at that time.