From maintaining privacy and minimizing distractions to having some fun in your meetings, being able to control your background or apply filters can make a huge difference to your video meeting experience. Using third-party apps (we've seen some users have success with SnapCamera) you can blur or change your background on StarLeaf, as well as apply a range of weird and wonderful filters. Find out more in our video.

If you’re new to working from home or working over video, you might have been struck by the unexpected glimpse into the lives of your coworkers, as you squint at their bookshelves or let your eyes drift to their wall art. And it’s not just about work – there’s been plenty of curiosity about public figures’ backdrops too.

In some ways, getting a peek into your colleagues’ lives is a good thing. As Harvard Business Review says, the inevitable blending of work and home life during the coronavirus pandemic might lead to greater acknowledgement of the wide range of responsibilities we all have, and encourage employers to be more understanding and flexible in response.

But there are still plenty of reasons you might want to minimize this view into your home space, by blurring or replacing your background.

1. For you and your family’s privacy

Video meetings give everyone – including your boss – a glimpse into your home and your family life, and it's not always possible to keep your home-work environment as professional as you'd like. If your whole family is trying to work and learn from home, a neutral, clutter-free backdrop might be at a premium. The ability to replace or blur your background means that even if you’re relegated to the bedroom or the box room, you can present a professional setup onscreen.

2. To maintain a work/life balance

Some homeworkers find it important to clearly separate home and work lives. But this can be difficult to achieve when you’re a home worker. You might behave differently at work than you do at home, and maybe your décor choices reflect that. Blurring your background gives you the freedom to keep your home the way you want it, without wondering what your colleagues might think about the books on your shelves or the posters on your walls.

3. To reduce distractions during your meetings.

Controlling your background on video can also help you minimize distractions and get the most value out of your contributions to meetings. A busy, messy backdrop can be distracting for other meeting attendees, and risks your colleagues paying more attention to what’s going on behind you than what you’re trying to present. Clear, neutral backgrounds can help a meeting stay focused.

Whether you’re interested in clean, sleek backgrounds, or giving yourself a beard and glasses for Friday afternoon drinks, StarLeaf’s compatibility with background and filter apps has you covered. Watch the video to find out how.