The pandemic has changed life forever. In particular, the workforce has undergone dramatic transformations with the rise of working from home and virtual meetings. Global Workplace Analytics forecasts that 25% to 30% of the US workforce will continue working from home after the pandemic. This means video calls are now a daily reality for many people, and looking and feeling your best through the screen is just as important as looking the part when you're in the office.
Getting ready for your workday when working from home can sometimes feel a bit pointless. However, there are several benefits of "getting ready" for work even when working from home. The way you feel mentally and physically can significantly impact your work performance. One major way to lift your mood and physical state is getting up, getting dressed and simultaneously establishing a healthy "work mindset". Putting on work-appropriate clothing and doing your hair and makeup can help switch your mind and body into work mode rather than home mode.
From clothing and jewellery to makeup, hair, background, and lighting, here are some tips to help you look and feel great on video calls.
8 Tips for looking your best on video calls
1. Dress to impress
If you work from home, you'll know the temptation to stay in your pyjamas all day is real. However, a video call is a perfect excuse to elevate your look. Solid colours and bold patterns or prints work well on camera. Structured tops, crisp shirts, or more form-fitting garments will look more professional and keep you well clear of the leisurewear vibe.
Check how your top half appears on camera before the video call starts.
If it's a professional call, consider something more structured because baggy sweaters and blouses can look casual.
If there's a chance you might have to get up during your call, it's worth considering your bottom half—many of us have been caught out in an old pair of trousers or shorts!
2. Pick the perfect jewellery
Adding some sparkling jewellery is a simple way to take your video call look to the next level. Statement jewellery pieces are ideal for video calls as they stand out and draw attention to you on the screen. When it comes to earrings, we love colourful drop earrings or bright diamond studs for something more subtle. For the perfect necklace to wear on your video calls, we suggest something bold and chunky or a diamond necklace, to add a little bit of sparkle. For more inspiration, here is plenty of beautiful jewellery for your next video call.
Stacked bracelets can make noise if you tend to talk with your hands. Instead, you could wear a tennis bracelet or a cuff.
If you're wearing over-ear headphones, opt for alternative jewellery instead of earrings.
3. Get camera-ready hair
Spending so much time at home means our hair is often forgotten, but there are some easy ways to style it without spending hours blow-drying. A slick top knot is a great start as it hides the tangles and roots that may need a touch-up. If you prefer wearing your hair out, add some volume with dry shampoo and brush it from underneath.
Make sure your top knot is high on your head so it can be seen on camera and your hair doesn't look "flat".
Be cautious with messy styles because it doesn't always show up well on camera.
4. Embrace the magic of makeup
Makeup can be a useful tool to help you feel confident on your video calls. It can accentuate your best features like your eyes, lips or cheeks, and also bring out the natural colour in your face so you don't look washed out on screen. You don't need to overdo it (unless you want to)—a little lip gloss, some sheer foundation, a dusting of blush, and a lick of mascara can add a healthy glow to your face.
Go for a look that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Put your makeup on before you get dressed to avoid getting any on your clothes.
5. The right lighting can do wonders
No matter how great you look, poor lighting during your video call can affect your appearance on-screen. The best lighting for video calls is light facing directly towards the whole face, whether natural sunlight from a window, or from a lamp that you position directly in front. This will ensure steady, even lighting that will bring out your best features. Natural lighting is best, or a ring light as they give your face a soft glow.
Avoid having half your face in light and the other shaded or blocked, as this will make you appear shadowy.
Try not to sit with your back against a window or area letting light in as you will appear as a silhouette, making it hard for others to see you.
6. Positioning is important
The positioning of your laptop, desktop or camera also affects how you appear on-screen. The camera angle can assist in highlighting your most flattering angles. Positioning the camera straight on or slightly above you will have the best effect. Also, make sure you fill the entire frame and are centred.
Ensure the camera isn't below you as this can be an unflattering angle.
If your laptop sits low on the desk—lift it by stacking it on some books.
7. Choose your background carefully
During your video call, you want to keep the focus on you and not your background. Keeping your background simple is one way to do this. Some video call programs also offer background options to blur your background or add a theme, such as a block colour. This is another way to simplify your backdrop so the final visual isn't overwhelming or distracting.
Check the background of anything you don't want to appear in the frame before the call starts.
Try to avoid a background with bright colours, patterns or animation as this will distract from your face.
8. Confidence is Key
The best way to shine on your video calls is from within. Feeling confident online radiates out to others. To feel confident, make sure you feel comfortable and embrace your individual style. This is also true for styling your hair and makeup. While you may want to try something new and exciting, sticking to your usual styling is also fine if this means you will feel more confident.
If possible, don't leave getting ready for your video call to the last minute. Rushing will leave you feeling frazzled.
There is no pressure to adopt any particular style—consider these tips alongside your personal preferences.
Adapting to the "new normal" for many of us means spending more hours talking to colleagues via our screens. Getting ready for your workday at home can be an important ritual that puts you in the right mindset and sets a can-do tone for the day. By following these tips, you'll be feeling and looking confident and camera-ready for your next video call.