First impressions always last.

I’ve heard this phrase countless times– from my parents, teachers and even friends who try to set me up on dates. But with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing us to meet virtually, how can we ensure that we make a good first impression?

One way of doing so is by having a proper background for your video call. One that showcases your personality while maintaining a professional look. In fact, the Financial Times did an analysis of a few famous personalities based on the way they organised their bookshelves at home.

Not all of us, however, have fancy bookshelves that we’re able to show off during our video meetings. Thankfully, video calling platforms like Microsoft Teams (MS Teams), Zoom and Google Meet come with a set of virtual backgrounds to maintain that professional look you desire, although some are more appropriate for serious meetings than others.

  • A stack of toilet paper
    Photo carousell: Some video backgrounds available online that are more for fun than for maintaining a professional look. Photo Credits: Maggie Grisworld from

You can also add your own custom background designs onto your video calling software.

Sites like Canva, a free site for people to create graphics and designs, have free backgrounds you can use for your video meetings. 

The beauty of these virtual backgrounds is that some of them are so real that they could even pass off as your actual backdrop.

This picture of a simple, white room could pass off as a realistic background for your next video call. Such photos are available for free on various online platforms like Canva and Unsplash. Photo Credits: Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Have you ever fooled someone into thinking that your virtual background was real? Let us know in the comments below!

Are these backgrounds real or fake?

At The UrbanWire, we too have been looking for virtual backgrounds to keep our professional look while doing interviews and assignments. Not everyone has a clean looking backdrop at home, so we sometimes like to use virtual backgrounds when on a video call. Can you decipher which backgrounds are real? Take the quiz below to find out!