Remote Working Props

I enjoyed reading the MSNBC article on 10 mistakes everyone makes working from home by Meghan Casserly.

Many of Megan’s ideas are come from the new book by executive coach and author Debra Benton – the Virtual Executive. Debra Benton introduces the idea of ‘props’ – i.e. the stuff you have lying around your desk and in your room that can be seen in video conferences and Skype chats.

The idea made me chuckle. My own favourite mug sports a “I’d rather be in bed” message and although I now sit in a part of the lounge, my old ‘office’ used to be our spare bedroom and was the dumping ground for all tat that had no home.

One of the 10 mistakes is:

You look like a terrorist on Skype. 
In video, Benton says a huge mistake is the casualness of your presentation, but she’s especially emphatic about backdrop. In other words, booting up Skype or Face Time without first considering whether there’s a plant growing out the top of your head is a bad idea.” Take a look around, she says: is there a bra on your chair? Is there smoking paraphernalia in the room that shouldn’t be there?

To follow it up Megan adds:

And your props are terrible. 
Even an innocent slip can get you in trouble on-camera. One executive Benton worked with decided he wanted a glass of water on hand during a video conference, which seemed innocuous enough. “But the glass he chose was a beer mug!” she says. When the man lifted the glass to drink and his colleagues saw him through grainy web video, it appeared he was drinking on the job. Rule of thumb: choose your glasses wisely.

So have you had a look at what’s lying on your desk today?

To be honest I tend to avoid using Web Cams these days, I usually claim it’s a broad band issue, in reality it’s a “bad hair and messy room” issue!