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As 2020 forced the whole world to work from home, there aren’t many people who haven’t heard about Zoom by now. Whether or not it’s your main tool for video conferencing in 2023, this Zoom setup for the home office will help you look and sound professional online without spending a small fortune!
From high-quality technical setup to the most important Zoom features and some useful tools, this guide covers all the essential aspects of participating in online meetings.
As someone who sits on several group and one-to-one meetings every week, having a good setup allows me to focus on meeting goals and not worry about my looks or technical stuff.
I’ll also share a couple of little extra steps you can take when setting up your workspace at home that will noticeably improve your online appearance.
With that said, let’s dive right into the best setup for Zoom meetings in 2023!
Best technical Zoom setup for home office
If you can only afford one good-quality thing for your home office Zoom setup – make it a microphone.
Your look may seem a top priority, but the clear sound and what you are saying are so much more important! You can smile and dress like a professional, even stream from a fully equipped studio, but if your sound is awful, it’ll turn people off.
Have you ever watched a Youtube video with low-quality sound? Isn’t it frustrating when you have to maximize your volume just for that video and then jump in your chair when a sudden ad starts to scream? Please don’t do this to people who are talking to you on Zoom! Especially if those are clients who you expect to come back for more calls.
Also, the low-frequency background noise that is typical for built-in microphones can give headaches to sensitive people. Keep this in mind if you often have longer calls.
Best Zoom microphone for home office
Logitech is one of the best tech makers for professionals and creators, and its Blue Yeti microphone is amazing for speaking in meetings and recording your voice for various purposes.Pros:
Best budget mic for Zoom meetings
Very affordable Zoom mic if you are on a budget. It quickly connects through USB and looks as professional as it can get.
It can be used for online meetings as well as for streaming your gameplay, podcasting, or recording Youtube videos. And the audio quality is very impressive for the price!Pros:
Remember the times when even most Youtube bloggers used built-in laptop web cameras? Well, they are long gone now. In 2023, you HAVE to invest in a good camera to look professional on someone else’s screen – but it doesn’t have to be super expensive!
Of course, if you are a Youtuber or a videographer, you might need a professional DSLR to keep up with the industry: Canon EOS 90D with a 28mm f/1.8 lens is a common setup to achieve that cool blurry background behind you.
However, it’s such an overkill for regular Zoom calls! These days you can get away with simply a good webcam that’s 10 times cheaper! And most people will not be able to tell the difference…
Best Zoom camera for home office
If you are looking for a compact web camera for online conferencing, this NexiGo camera is your best bet.
Lots of people have been switching to NexiGo after using a BRIO webcam and acknowledging the impressive difference in image quality.Pros:
Best budget camera for Zoom meetings
This Full HD webcam has 25K+ positive reviews from happy users – so you can be sure it’s worth it for your Zoom meetings.
If you don’t care about 4K video or just want a cheaper good-quality camera that does the job, check out this one.
It even has a privacy cover to save you from accidentally turning your camera on when you aren’t ready to be seen.Pros:
To be honest, headphones aren’t super essential anymore.
If you use a good-quality mic, it probably has a built-in echo cancelation feature, so you won’t get a hi-hi-hi-hi-echo-echo-echo-echo thing as we had it years back (if you know, you know).
Still, many people (myself included) prefer using headphones on Zoom calls for different reasons:
- avoid getting distracted by background sounds at home
- prevent others from hearing your chat notifications and reminders during live calls
- save your housemates from hearing everyone on the call
- enjoy a better sound if built-in speakers aren’t that great
The type of headphones is a matter of personal preference: for example, I prefer to use tiny earbuds instead of bulky over-ear headphones, and my husband is the opposite.
Whichever team you are on, you’ll find my best headphone picks for Zoom meetings below.
Best over-ear headphones for home office
Sony’s advanced headphones feature noise-canceling technology, Edge-AI-enhanced audio, and prolonged battery life.
My husband has been wearing them all day for years as he works from home, and they never disappoint.Pros:
Best budget headphones for Zoom meetings
If you are not a big fan of over-ear headphones and prefer a more compact solution (I’m with you!), here are the best earbuds options for working from home in 2023:
Best earbuds for home office
While I may not have been a big supporter of Apple in the past (I’m an Android developer, after all), I must admit that AirPods have won me over.
I’m wearing my AirPods as I’m writing this and have been using them for over a year now. Can’t recommend them enough!Pros:
Best budget earbuds for Zoom meetings
If you aren’t that picky about the audio quality and want a pair of budget Bluetooth earbuds, consider TAGRY.
They won’t cancel the noise for you like AirPods do, but they are more than enough for a smooth Zoom conferencing experience.Pros:
That was the bare minimum technology needed for Zoom calls at home!
Of course, you may start with what you have and upgrade little by little when you feel financially ready. But just having these three things (mic, camera, and headphones) covered will create a great professional impression in your clients’ or colleagues’ eyes!
Now, let’s talk about your eyes and posture for a second.
When setting up your home office for video calls, consider getting a standing desk.
Using a standing desk has a bunch of benefits like helping you maintain good posture, feel more energetic, and keep your blood flowing. These perks can help you stay focused and engaged during video meetings, making sure you show up as your best professional self.
Most standing desks let you easily switch between sitting and standing so that you can find the perfect balance throughout your day.
Best standing desk for home office
Here are some good standing desks that are suitable for working from home and fit different budgets and spaces:
If you choose to stand for hours at a time, you should also consider getting an anti-fatigue standing mat to relieve the pressure off your back and leg muscles. As a bonus, the cleverly designed ridges and dots offer a surface to massage your feet regularly, stretch and move during the day and stay comfortable.
A good monitor is crucial for an efficient home office setup because it directly impacts your productivity, comfort, and overall work experience.
A high-quality monitor reduces eye strain and fatigue by offering clear visuals, accurate colors, and adjustable brightness levels. It enables you to work for extended periods without discomfort, making it easier to focus on tasks and maintain a consistent workflow.
Additionally, a dual monitor setup can let you multitask easier by making it effortless to navigate between applications and documents.
Best monitor for home office
If you need a monitor for your home office, this Packard Bell monitor is a great choice, perfect for anything from meetings to gaming.
It has an adjustable ergonomic stand and a wide 178-degree viewing angle.Pros:
In addition to selecting a top-notch monitor, consider using monitor arms for even greater flexibility and ergonomic benefits.
Monitor arms allow you to adjust the height, angle, and position of your screen effortlessly, ensuring the best viewing experience for work and Zoom meetings.
By using monitor arms, you can maintain proper posture, minimize neck and shoulder strain, and free up a lot of space on your desk.
Here are some good monitor arms suitable for a home office and various budgets:
Extra touches for a professional Zoom setup
You already have everything you need to create a proper technical setup for your online meetings, but there are several additional things that can instantly make you look more professional on camera.
Proper lighting can make a notable difference in your online meeting experience.
Good lighting ensures that your face is well-lit and easily visible, which helps you appear more professional and engaged during video calls. Investing in a dedicated ring light or softbox can help eliminate shadows and create a flattering, even light on your face.
By adjusting the light’s intensity and color temperature, you can achieve a natural and polished look that helps you make a positive impression during virtual meetings.
Here are the best video conference light options for home office:
A clean, organized, and professional-looking background can help you project a more polished image during video calls. A simple and uncluttered background, like a plain wall or a bookshelf, allows your colleagues to focus on you rather than any potential distractions.
Alternatively, you can invest in a portable green screen or use virtual backgrounds to create a more professional and customized appearance.
Some creators also like playing around with the hues of the background, which is something a color-smart light can help with.
A laptop riser can instantly improve your video conferencing experience by elevating your laptop’s camera to eye level. This ensures a more flattering and natural camera angle, making you appear more engaged and attentive during Zoom meetings.
Moreover, a laptop riser encourages better posture and reduces neck and shoulder strain by allowing you to maintain an upright position while looking at the screen.
This simple accessory not only enhances your on-camera appearance but also promotes overall comfort and well-being during long video calls.
This was the last bit of technical setup for the home office.
Now, let’s look into Zoom’s native features and a couple of software tools you can use to improve the meeting experience even more from a digital perspective!
Most important Zoom settings
Yes, it’s the simplest but the most overlooked thing!
Learn to MUTE YOURSELF, please!
It’s been three years since the world switched to remote work, and still, there are people at almost every meeting who don’t know how to properly use the Mute/Unmute button.
It might not be as important in one-to-one calls, but whenever you are part of a conversation that involves more than two people, it’s crucial to avoid the mess and keep things professional.
Also, if one person is presenting something to the rest, it’s generally a polite thing to do. Turn off your mic so your breath or background noises don’t interfere with the speaker.
Workplace statistics show we already waste too much time on unnecessary meetings – let’s at least not make it worse.
Mute settings in Zoom
Now, here is the setting you might find useful if you have lots of group meetings:
It’s located closer to the bottom of the Audio tab in Zoom app preferences. This way, your joining the meeting isn’t disruptive to the ongoing conversation.
As for the Mute/Unmute button during the call, it’s in the bottom left corner of your call’s window. A good idea is to memorize a simple Alt + A shortcut (Cmd + Shift + A on Mac) so you can quickly mute or unmute yourself without a mouse.
If you don’t need to talk a lot during the meeting, a general rule of thumb is to keep yourself on mute and long-press the Space key whenever you need to say something. It works similarly to a walkie-talkie (if you are old enough to know what that is).
Lighting improvement & retouching
These are two settings from the Video tab in Zoom settings that may improve your overall look a tiny little bit, especially in bad lighting conditions.
The first is simple retouching: basically, it just blurs your skin so all the skin flaws are less visible. Don’t overdo it though, cause it will make you look weird and unnatural.
The second one is supposed to improve things in the dark room situation. Again, don’t overdo it, as your face will get blown out. Better keep it on Auto if possible so it auto-adjusts when you move around with your laptop or turn on the other light source.
Remember that software settings can only do so much. If your home office really lacks light, consider investing in a small extra lighting kit that you can put on your desk or mount to a monitor.
This is a quick tool that will prevent you from forgetting about meetings or being late!
Zoom can remind you as close as 5 minutes before your call starts so you can prepare and enter on time without wasting everyone’s time on ‘technical difficulties.’
Don’t be that person who is always late and makes colleagues get involved in awkward small talk while waiting.
This is the feature everyone has probably tried by now, but in case you haven’t, it’s on the Background and Effects tab. Most people discover it during the call when they see someone else using it.
Play with it before the meeting, and show up in a beautiful place next time! Although most of the filters are more suitable for a personal chat than for a serious business meeting, so don’t forget to keep things professional!
In case you didn’t know, you can set your own image or video as your meeting background. Some people have had a lot of fun with this feature!
Generally, using an artificial background is a life-saver for sudden calls when your surroundings are messy. It will hide everything from piles of underwear to children playing in the back. Of course, it’s better to keep your home office workplace clean and tidy at all times, but it’s a good solution for emergencies (and privacy).
As we are done with important settings, I want to also show you two software tools that can be useful during your Zoom sessions.
Tools for professional Zoom meetings
Krisp for background noise cancelation
This one is especially useful if you have kids, pets, loud family members, or neighbors!
Krisp is a cheap tool that does a great job of suppressing all the unnecessary background noises during your calls.
Here are some typical noise sources that take place during online meetings:
- Pets: dogs barking, cats playing with rustling things, roosters screaming
- Children playing and talking
- Family members watching TV or playing video games
- Never-ending renovation by your neighbors
- Noisy devices like a vacuum cleaner, an air conditioner, or a hairdryer
- Sudden phone ringing or door knocking
- Airplanes or thunder noise from the outside
- Street noise from people and traffic if you hop on a call on the go
- Coffee shop noise
- …and more
Sure, this is life, and everyone understands, but you can avoid all those awkward situations by just turning the noise cancelation tool on!
Zoom has its own noise cancelation you may try, but it obviously can’t compete with the tool specifically created for that purpose.
Krisp is only $8 per month for unlimited usage, but it’s so worth it if you need to sound more professional! You can test it out and see if it improves your experience, as they give you one hour a day for free.
Here is a great comparison video to show the difference between Zoom’s noise cancelation feature and Krisp’s abilities in real-life noise situations:
If you are impressed, sign up for a free Krisp account and try it during your next meeting! They also recently introduced new AI-powered features that are worth checking out.
Otter for meeting assistance
Otter is an incredibly valuable tool for those working in a home office, as it becomes your personal meeting assistant, automatically transcribing your Zoom calls in real-time and generating concise meeting notes.
By using Otter, you can effectively capture important information, discussions, and action items from your virtual meetings without the need for manual note-taking. This enables you to remain fully engaged and focused on the conversation at hand, contributing more actively to the discussion.
Additionally, having access to accurate transcripts and summaries of your meetings can greatly improve productivity and organization. You can easily review and share the generated notes with colleagues, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding key decisions, deadlines, and responsibilities.
Otter can even capture slides that someone shares and include them in the meeting notes so nobody loses the context.
Otter’s AI transcription service can be particularly beneficial for remote workers in different time zones or those who may have missed a meeting. The comprehensive meeting notes allow them to catch up on essential details without needing to watch an entire recorded session.
Otter is free for up to 300 monthly minutes, with a limit of 30 minutes at a time. It can join your Zoom calls as a participant and automatically do its magic in the background. Try Otter assistant here.
Final thoughts on home office Zoom setup in 2023
These were all my recommendations for Zoom meetings at home in 2023!
Implementing this minimal technical home office setup is more than enough for most cases. Whether you have client calls, regular team meetings, recording podcasts, or teaching online lessons, these tips will make you stand out and look professional, even though you are working at home.
If you wanna go a step further and look even more professional in your office, my extra tips and software tools should help take your meeting experience to the next level.