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The art of the (work) video call

How to handle one of the most frequent activities of these smart working days

The art of the (work) video call How to handle one of the most frequent activities of these smart working days

In these days of hectic smart working, one of the questions you've been asked the most, along with the proposal of a drink after dinner "together" via Skype or Google Hangouts, is whether you're available to discuss urgent matters and important issues in a video call. And how could you decline the invite? 
Checking the number, it's been probably five days since you've been wearing those sweatpants and since you last washed your hair, so what follows is a list of quick and practical tips to face in the best way possible a work video call. 

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*Only dresses top half of body*

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The most important element of a video call is not you, my dears, but what's hiding behind you. Be sure that for half of the time, if not all of the time, your co-workers will focus more on the furniture of your room rather than on your face or on what you're saying. To keep a professional appearance, what lies behind you should remain neutral, so avoid undone bed, piles of dirty laundry and more generally an untidy environment (if this last point is impossible in your room, take the call in another spot of the house). If in an effort to look even more serious also to impress an arrogant co-worker you decide to stand in front of a bookshelf first make a check on the titles you're displaying: you don't want your colleagues to see self-help books, sexual positions handbooks or volumes that might look too weird or nerdy. At the same time, it's always better to hide stuff animals, old board games and faded posters of teenage idols. 


More and more people are ditching Skype and Google Hangouts and are starting to use Zoom, an app that basically offers the same service but that features two important innovations. The first is the possibility to bring up a green screen behind you, the same used on movie sets for special effects. It might be a good solution if you don't have the time to tidy up your room, but at the same time, it not only might look quite ridiculous - your head floating as if you were about to do a weather forecast - but it also looks a little suspicious, like 'What is he trying to hide?'. 
A useful tool, on the other hand, is the Touch My Appearance feature, which like a light Instagram filter will improve the look of your face without making you look like one of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters. Better than nothing. 


As hard it might be to say goodbye, even for just a few minutes, to your sweat pants and your hoodie, make an effort, you won't suffer long. If the farewell is too hard, at least try to hide that coffee stain on your T-shirt, and put on a pair of trousers if you're used to working in your underwear, imagine if you had to stand up to grab something showing in this way your butt cheeks - if not more - to your clients or boss. 

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It's highly probable that over the last few days your bed has become your workstation, the place from which you send emails, pick up phone calls and carry on projects as if you were at your usual desk. If you are confident in taking a video call from that same place, make sure that your co-workers don't realize that you're working from your bed, try to zoom in on your face as much as possible without giving them a chance to glimpse your headboard, otherwise, your co-workers might become suspicious about your productivity. 


#Special guests

Internet and especially YouTube still treasure one of the best videos of all times, a BBC program during which Professor Robert Kelly, during a very serious interview, is interrupted by the entrance of his two children. Well, even though you're not on national TV, it might be better if your significant others/siblings/parents/animals/roommates (above all if they are like Hugh Grant's roomie in Notting Hill) keep out of your room, especially if they're about to ask you embarrassing questions like the mother of Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory