Working from home can get monotonous. It’s funny how until something is taken away, you don’t truly recognize how important it actually is to you. Take my morning commute on the Bay Area's rapid transit public transportation system (BART) from Oakland to San Francisco…I miss the sights, sounds, and yes—even the smells (most of them anyway). I miss seeing my colleagues in the morning and casually chatting with them throughout the day. I especially miss our social gatherings and happy hours.
While video conferencing has filled in admirably over the past six months to keep everyone connected, it has become clear that we need additional tools at our fingertips to complement the video conferencing experience and supplement what has been lost by going 100 percent remote.
With this in mind, we are excited to officially announce availability of our suite of virtual background capabilities that will help attendees feel more comfortable and confident on video regardless of their actual background environment and give attendees a way to visually represent themselves, while adding a little bit of flair to their meetings.
BlueJeans virtual background features are easily accessed before joining a meeting by clicking preferences in the BlueJeans menu and selecting the "Virtual Background" tab. Once an attendee has joined a meeting, they can access their virtual background settings by clicking the "Settings" gear in the top right of the screen and selecting "Choose Virtual Background" below the hair check screen.
Once in the Virtual Background tab, meeting attendees have the ability to either blur their current background or select an image to serve as a replacement background. To enable background blur, simply flip the toggle and select the appropriate blur density. You have the option to blur as much or as little of your background as necessary.
To replace your background, you can either upload your own image or you can choose from one of eight backgrounds that have been pre-loaded by our friends over at Shutterstock. Once you select a background it will persist from meeting to meeting until you turn it off or select a different background image.
Our team has been piloting these features for about two months now, and we have been having a blast. Whether showing off our amateur Photoshop skills or collectively leveraging the same background to demonstrate solidarity, the virtual backgrounds have actually brought a much-needed degree of normalcy to the team. I knew they would make individuals with tricky WFH setups more comfortable, but I was blown away at how this simple set of features could help reinforce our team’s bond while it’s being challenged in so many other ways.
I encourage everyone to make sure they are on the latest version of the desktop app for either Windows or Mac and begin spicing up their meetings with BlueJeans virtual backgrounds. I guarantee that at least it will give you something other than the weather to talk about at the beginning of your next meeting!