Love it or hate it, videoconferencing is a daily ritual for many folks today. We asked three public-facing local professionals to share how they get ready for their closeup.
Meghan Phillips, Founder & CEO, Honey
Patrick Harbison, Owner, Patrick Harbison Public Relations
Wanda Abney, Host of “Full Circle” on 97.5 FM KDEE and leadership trainer at the California Public Utilities Commission
MP: I created an office in my guest bedroom where I’m on a laptop with a double screen.
PH: I work on a laptop from a guest bedroom that doubles as office space.
WA: I’m at my dining room table on a laptop with an additional monitor.
In the Background
MP: I created more of an artistic space than my guest room has ever seen, with local art and a plant from my old office—things that make me feel like I’m back in my old space.
PH: I bought a new desk and got a bunch of plants in the background so that it looks like I have a green thumb. Truth be told, probably 60% of them are artificial. I also have books and client swag and artwork from some of my favorite local artists. They are things that speak to my professional brand but also the brands of the clients that I rep.
WA: I am up against a plain white wall. One of my co–workers said it looked like I was in an isolation room.
What Are You Wearing?
MP: I enjoyed the yoga pant moment for a time but found I needed some structure to the workday, so now I get dressed because it helps me compartmentalize my brain a little bit. There hasn’t been a high heel on these feet in more than six months, but at least I am presentable.
PH: I’ll admit to doing the business–on–top, casual–on–the–bottom thing. I am mindful to always make sure that the hair is done. When I make the effort to emphasize my former daily routine, it helps get me into a good mindset.
WA: The bottom is always the same: either shorts or running pants, because I walk in the morning, and fuzzy slippers. Depending on the meeting, I’ll do my makeup and hair and put on a nice work top, but most of the time I have on a non–offensive T-shirt and maybe a scarf or cap.
When Life Gets in the Way
MP: I’ve heard my account director play “Moana” in the background more times than I can count. One benefit of this culture change is that we don’t have to apologize now (for blending work and home).
PH: We just adopted a 120-pound Great Dane. He certainly has dive-bombed some of my Zooms. There’s such a sense of empathy for everyone on these meetings with regard to life interrupting work.
WA: While listening to a meeting, I was making a smoothie and walking around my house when I heard my co–worker say, “What’s that background noise?” It took me a minute to figure out it was me. The mute button is the savior of meetings these days.