A reader writes:
I have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, and love working from my couch. I have always done all my meetings and other virtual calls from the couch as well, and no one has ever mentioned it as a problem. But I am about to start freelancing, and I’m wondering whether doing meetings from a couch makes me seem less professional, or might potentially turn folks off or lead them to question my judgment? It’s a fairly nondescript beige couch, but it’s pretty obvious it’s a couch. (I also have an equally comfortable cushy matching armchair which I’d happily switch to, but I assume that wouldn’t make any difference.)
It would definitely be a bit of a challenge and an annoyance to figure out a new office chair setup elsewhere in the house, so I’d rather not do it if the vast majority of people are unlikely to notice or care. And I honestly feel like I do my best work when I’m most comfortable! But if it’s likely that some significant number of clients or potential clients (even if they’re in the minority) will think less of me when they see the couch behind me, I feel like I should probably bite the bullet and make the change. (The other option, of course, would be a virtual background, but I feel like virtual backgrounds themselves often look less-professional/distracting, with different objects flickering in and out of view from time to time, but maybe my perspective on that is off.) What do you think?
The couch is fine.
Full disclosure: I also work from a couch.
But even if I didn’t, I’d tell you the couch is fine. Lots of people work from couches or armchairs or the kitchen table, and it’s not a big deal. Work where you’re comfortable! There’s nothing inherently unprofessional about upholstery.
I don’t recommend taking video calls from bed — or from a pillow fort — but a couch is fine.