Creative Use of Zoom Brings Us Closer
Vol.6 Issue 3
Cartoon of the Jetsons with a video conference monitor

Some of us in today’s workforce still remember when phones had no video capability. The idea of communicating simultaneously via video screen was the stuff of science fiction, or cartoons like the Jetsons. But with today, we can easily do what was considered "futuristic" not so long ago. Though many of us are confined to teleworking in our homes because of the coronavirus, we don’t have to be completely isolated from our coworkers.

Of course, we can send each other emails, and can converse on the phone, but by using video conferencing, team meetings can still allow teams to feel cohesive. is easy to use, and provides real-time communication, complete with facial expressions and other demeanor that would otherwise be absent when using phone calls or texts. Recent team meetings have been enjoyable for the Quality Systems and Business Resources Staff (AMC-3). The ability to add a photo or graphic behind each individual adds another level of fun to catching up with coworkers.

Four Zoom attendees show their custom background photos, bringing character to the meeting.

Wimberly Fresia, Management and Program Analyst placed a fun virtual image behind her live feed. She explained her choice, "I saw the Brady Bunch background being used by a friend online. I thought it was perfect." She adds, "…with Zoom technology placing each of us in our own box, it brought back the memory of the Brady Bunch family each looking up, down, and sideways at each other in their individual boxes."

Terry Julian, Management Analyst, chooses to add a graphic of his favorite football team, the Chicago Bears. With the current world situation requiring that most of us avoid each other, he’s glad to say that by using this application, "Working at home doesn’t have to mean working alone!" Rod Vargas, Supervisory Management Analyst, says adding custom photo backdrops in Zoom, "… allows you to add a personal touch to a somewhat impersonal way of communicating." In a recent meeting using Zoom, the team decided upon a theme before-hand, where everyone was asked to wear a hat of their choice. This kept the team from feeling like they were looking at other prisoners in their respective cells. As more people use the application, more creativity will ensue.

Adding a custom image is easy. While you are attending a Zoom meeting, there is a small pull up menu near the video camera icon at the lower left corner of the screen. Click on "Choose a Virtual Background"

Click on Choose Virtual Background…
Click on the plus symbol to navigate to your own photo or graphic

Once you click on that, a new window will open, and you will be able to choose from one of several pre-made backdrops by Zoom. If you want to add your own photo, click on the plus symbol on the right side of the screen. Then, navigate to a photo on your computer. Voila. You are done.

Once you begin using backdrop images, you might find it addicting. Though it isn’t a requirement, adding a virtual image of your choice almost becomes your video signature. Some might enjoy keeping one image behind them, while others might like to spice meetings up with a different image each time. Regardless, meetings don’t have to be boring, especially while we are feeling cooped up at home. By being creative, you just might lift someone else’s spirits.

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