A New Normal

One of the most notable changes of the pandemic has been social distancing and working remotely. It has provided many lifestyle changes; personal and professional challenges. News anchors are no longer reporting from a production studio with a set but from a corner of their living room or their spare guest bedroom now turned office. Progress report meetings are interrupted by barking dogs, lawnmowers, or small children. Students forget to mute their microphones while talking to family members or scrolling through social media while in class.
There are new distractions that are arising compared to the way things in society previously ran, like in a traditionally formal environment in an auditorium, classroom, or having a meeting in a boardroom.

These are not necessarily good or bad changes, just not the norm, but new challenges require new solutions. CEOS, executives, and varying degrees of professionals are now worried about their screen backgrounds, lighting, angling, noise, and sound quality because our interactions have now become digital. Regular people have to think like set designers, traditionally problem-solving experienced in production studios and the entertainment industry. It may seem silly worrying about a background, but the way you present yourself virtually contributes to professionalism. It is a fundamental cause of worry as a professional because it might affect your chances of getting hired and keeping your job.

There hasn’t been a specific set of guidelines that have become universally known as the professional code for the zoom-sphere. Most people try to find a blank, non-distracting wall, wear a blazer, and brush hair, but there is still worry because the background/ your home is a reflection of you. It says something about you because your home says something about you, but it is confusing because you are working professionally from your personal space. This matters more for some than others, depending on your role and ranking within your company, being published on the internet, doing a live interview, being a guest speaker at a virtual conference, etc.

Seemingly every facet of our everyday lives is being digitized; it’s widely known and acknowledged how often people rely on their phones for their every need. This trend is just going to keep continuing and continuing to everything. CEOs who work from home do build home offices; artists invest in home-recording studios; digital content creators have lighting and camera equipment set up for podcasting and filming. This kind of life and way of working is becoming a more and more applicable and relevant concern.

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