The pandemic brought many of us into the world of zoom. Working from home we often prefer to keep the antics of our family and our messy rooms private - hail the virtual background. Unfortunately virtual backgrounds can often be glitchy and tacky, resulting in the undesired effect of appearing unprofessional. In an educational video, a virtual background is distracting to viewers.

Luckily many of us are now back at the office where privacy is less of an issue. Hence we recommend you avoid using them !

Harvard Business Review Poll

In 2020 Harvard Business Review conducted a survey asking 465 professionals questions about their video call preferences. Among other things, the poll revealed the low popularity of seeing virtual backgrounds.

HBR Poll

The following quote on what people do prefer seeing is particularly entertaining:

The majority of men showed a preference for books (50% vs 38% of women), while 40% of women preferred framed d├ęcor (vs 28% of men). Only 22% of the group overall (with men and women responding almost identically) want to see the larger room behind the speaker, including furniture and/or personal items.

Further Procrastination

Article for Thrive Global, a US company that provides behavior change technology. Thrive Global Article

Video from Grant Ainsley, a media and communication training provider.


Room Rater: An amusing twitter page that scores out of the 10 the rooms behind commentators on news channels in the US and Canada.

Room rater