Virtual Backgrounds…Yes, or No?

It is common to spend a lot of time considering the nonverbals of body language. But what about the nonverbal messages we may be sending with things like our clothing…or our backgrounds in virtual meetings?

Our background sends a strong nonverbal message in virtual settings.

The debate around virtual or real backgrounds has waged since the very early days of the pandemic.

⭐ While much has evolved since the days of work from home mandates, for those of us who decide, or have opted for a remote element as part of our professional experience, learning how to navigate virtual or real backgrounds is critical to showing up as a prepared, savvy and professional person. ⭐

At Virtual Sapiens, we are strongly in favor of leveraging real backgrounds whenever possible. And according to a recent survey, we are not alone. This recent study led by HBR marked that only 7.5% of respondents had a positive perception of virtual backgrounds over real/actual room backgrounds.


What if you are traveling and don’t want to show your hotel room bed in the background? What if your company requires the use of a branded virtual background? Or perhaps you are just uncomfortable with showing any aspects of your personal home/room decor in a professional setting. 

Whatever the reason for deciding to use a virtual over a real background, check out this short video and our points below for some pro tips on how to think about setting yourself up for success whether you use a virtual background or a real one.

Tips for real backgrounds: 

  • Keep it simple and uncluttered – you can greatly enhance your audience’s ability to focus if you have fewer items in your background
  • Make sure there are no moving objects, or windows (ideally) to avoid distraction
  • A few intentional items can go a long way in helping you appear more unique, and personable. This is often far stronger than a blank, white wall. 

Tips for virtual backgrounds: 

  • Use a green screen (this helps keep the virtual background stable)
  • Consider blurred instead of full on virtual if you are in a location where the above is not possible.
  • Use a branded or office environment background – avoid the ‘fun and quirky’ stock virtual background options – these are great for a virtual happy hour, but for professional meetings can easily send the wrong message about your own level of professionalism

What are your favorite background tips?