Today marks one year from Virginia’s first shutdown. My child came home from school. I stayed home from work. You know this – no recap necessary. One year of working from home and I don’t see Zoom leaving the room anytime soon. I am also of the opinion that our work environments have changed forever. I won’t be going back to an office five days a week for at least six months – likely longer. This means working from home … which really means Zooming from home. So if I’m going to have to Zoom – it may as well be the best damn Zoom ever. Or something like that. My initial set up was fine for the occasional meeting – but all day every day – well I had to up my Zoom game. Read on to learn how to upgrade your Zoom calls too. #Zoomarama

Upgrade Your Workspace

Use an external webcam to Upgrade Your Zoom Calls.

Let’s start with the basics. If you computer is an old brick then you probably have a camera that produces grainy 80’s VCR looking images. An upgraded cameral will give you the most bang for your buck. Try the Logitech C920—or the Brio if you’re feeling some 4K fanciness. #FeelFancy

If your computer isn’t a brick then you read that first paragraph and thought (as I did) … “my laptop has a perfectly good camera”. Um no it really doesn’t. Not to mention the horrible position of the camera. How many times have you stared at the chin (or even worse – nose) of a coworker? The angle laptop cameras shoot from are ALWAYS the least flattering. Using an external camera and adding an adjustable arm like this suspension scissor arm, or this flexible swivel clamp will let you position the camera where it needs to be to show off your best angle. #AlwaysShowYourBestSide

Alternatively, you can use free apps to turn your phone into a webcam for your computer and use a stand to place it in an ideal location to flatter your face. #WhoKnew

Use a ring light to Upgrade Your Zoom Calls

For video conference calls, the camera is the main stay but it is only part of creating a quality image. I originally purchased my Ring light to create blog posts while traveling but since that isn’t happing – mine has been repurposed. What is a ring light you ask? Ring lights are circular lamps designed to illuminate you from all angles. This is especially useful if you’re in a dark room (aka basement dungeon) or chatting at night (aka Zoom happy hours). A few decent webcams come with a built-in ring light, but you’re better off getting a standalone one or a full kit if you’re using your phone as a camera. #LightItUp

Use an external mic to Upgrade Your Zoom Calls

Lastly, it is not all about how you look! Think of all the muted, garbled and echo-filled conversations you’ve had thanks to Zoom. Again, if you are relying on built-in technology, someone has probably described your talk track as sounding like the teacher from Peanuts. For a little investment try Blue’s Snowball mic or even the AmazonBasics Mini Condenser. #ClearConversation

Upgrade You

With your workspace all jazzed up … now it’s time to get you looking your best. There are only TWO things you need for any Zoom call: a black blazer and red lipstick. Seriously. A black blazer can be worn over anything. ANTHING. Trust me, I’ve done it. Actual work clothes, yes I do wear those still. Workout clothes, check. Pajamas, check. Athleisure, check. Swimsuit, check (yeah, I was that person one afternoon). Don’t judge. #PandemicLife

I’ve been loving this 24/7 one from Suitably because it can hang on the back of my chair and be tossed on at a moments notice (see swimsuit reference above). It’s comfortable, a great length and the best feature of all – NO dry cleaning required. Throughout the beginning of the pandemic, I made multiple trips to the dry cleaners for blazers that met little, dirty hands pushing or pulling my chair out of the way (remember I am a mom of boys who are also at home). Now when I see the little smudges on my blazer – into the wash it goes and I’m ready to Zoom again one load of laundry later. Did I mention under $100? #GameChanger

And the last Zoom accessory I never mic up without … lipstick. Sitting in my desk drawer is a magical red one (it also come in more subdued colors). These days I rarely wear a full face of make-up but I will don bright lipstick for my Zoom calls. This YSL one is not only stunning but also moisturizing, smells fabulous and feels so silky. #TripleThreat

And that’s it. Upgrade your Zoom calls with a few tech upgrades and some fabulous accessories for you. #ZoomOn