COVID-19 has been a source of great distress and existential horror, and like most destructive forces, it has cleared a path for change in many industries. The pandemic has torn apart traditional business models, forcing the world into a new digital paradigm. Working from home has become the new norm, and from our couches and kitchen tables, the traditional corporate image feels entirely out of place.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we can all start showing up to meetings in pajamas and dressing gowns. If anything, the work from home shift will level the playing field, making competition fiercer, and a professional image more important than ever before. The question is, what does “professional” look like in this new altered reality?
Claim your virtual real estate
Though the pandemic has driven many professionals into the safe embrace of their home offices, having a residential address for your business still creates an amateurish image in the eyes of potential clients and customers. To circumvent the stigma of operating out of your home, it’s worth investing in a virtual office. For a low monthly fee, this will give you a prime CBD address, mail forwarding and reception services, and bookable meeting rooms in a serviced office building.
A true professional has an eye for details
When preparing for a video conference call, your main focus will be on making sure you and your material are both presentable. However, if your backdrop is messy, excessively bright, or distracting, your chances of making a positive impression will be greatly reduced. Having an eye for details like this will make you stand out from those who are still struggling to catch up with the digital revolution.
Before making any video calls, be sure to test out different locations in your home or serviced office. Look for clean, simple backgrounds, preferably with a lighting source that’s in front of you (behind your computer). If you have art, decor, or wall-mounted monitors behind you, it often looks better if you’re sitting at an angle rather than straight-on. Use your webcam to test out a few positions until you find a professional-looking spot to settle into for your call.
Become the master of your digital destiny
Though people will be understanding if you struggle to get Zoom to work or use outdated clipart in your presentations, the subtle message being sent is that you’re not an expert. Take the time to master every bit of tech you use before breaking it out in front of others, and you’ll be presenting an impeccably professional image. When people see your meetings run seamlessly, presentations flow smoothly, and digital tools work intuitively, they will naturally develop trust in your capabilities and professionalism.
Focus on your digital image
With more and more people shopping online and exploring the world from the comfort of their couches, the image you project in the digital world is increasingly important. A professional website and a strong social media presence are now non-negotiables if you’re seeking success in the business world.
If you don’t yet have an online presence, now is the time to establish one. If you’re already established, then it’s time to up your game. Hire professional freelancers to help you with logo design, branding, web design, content marketing, and social media strategy. The professionalism of the people you work with reflects in the brand presence you create, so invest wisely.
Step into the new world of networking
With industry conferences and networking events canned for the foreseeable future, it’s easy to settle into the comfort of working in isolation. However, if you do this, you risk falling behind from being left out of the loop.
Networking in the traditional sense may have been put on hiatus by the pandemic, but new methods have risen up to replace it. Video conferences, webinars, social media groups, and online communities are springing up everywhere. It’s well worth your time to dedicate a few hours a week to nurturing your professional connections via these platforms.
The digital era is all innovation and fast-flowing developments. However, the rapid-fire changes inspired by the coronavirus pandemic have thrown the business world into a state of mayhem. Whether you’re able to take charge of your situation and create order from this chaos will depend greatly on the new understanding of professionalism you develop. If you want to work from the outside in and create the perfect professional environment in which to work, the APSO team is happy to help – contact us today.