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Analog Attorney

Zoom Background Fails to Avoid at All Costs

By Bull Garlington

We’ve all seen the terrifying Zoom fails of pantslessness, live-feed bathroom trips, and unmuted fetid rants about the host. We’re not those people. We’d never show up naked or allow our untethered howling spawn to step into the frame. We’re professionals here. But even professionals make mistakes. While you are strictly a pants-on Zoomer, holding the audience’s attention during a presentation is a tough competitive business. Your background is especially fertile ground for flubs. From oblivious roommates walking into the frame to poor green screen choices, here are Zoom background distractions to avoid at all costs.

Zoom Background Fails Kitchen and Bath Edition

zoom background fails kitchen

You have to work at your kitchen table but putting your collection of refrigerator magnets on display is a bad call. How am I supposed to focus on your explanation of frozen logistics asset management when I can clearly see you have the colorful Yugoslavian Ministry of Culture magnet and two versions of “Our Farmers Grow Yugoslavia,” but not the highly coveted and infamously misspelled “Wlecome to Yugoslania”? What are we, plebians? I can’t concentrate.


And for the love of all things virtual, please think about what your webcam shows behind you. Your use of feng sui bagua symmetry may place your desk squarely between the Zhen zone and the Tai Qui nook, but we can still look all the way into your bathroom, which is a nightmare. Please turn your computer to face into the Xun, Dui or Qian space before I hurl.

Zoom Background Fails Shelfie Version

zoom bacground fails bong on shelf

I appreciate your eight-volume series “Glass Shards of the Pacific.” But I am concerned about the — let’s call it a sculpture — between “Taxonomies of Beadwork Fasteners” and “Pokemon Go! Field Guide 2019.” Please don’t display your … proclivities when you’re trying to teach us about legal research. I can’t pixel out your life choices.

Wild Zoom Background Fails


You’re not the Tiger King. You’re not Siegfried or Roy. This isn’t the zoo. It’s Zoom. I’m trying to look at you, but I keep going blind and my monitor has shut down three times. I swear to God if you don’t put Autumn Leaves back up, you’re fired.

Your Bed Is Not a Good Look on Zoom

Your co-workers do not want to see your bedsheets bunched up behind you during a Zoom meeting. And if one of your co-workers does want to see your bedsheets bunched up behind you (Steve), you should definitely not let them. Sit on the couch. Lie on the living room floor. Just get out of bed, cupcake.

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Categories: Remote Work, Videoconferencing, Work from Home
Originally published March 1, 2022
Last updated May 23, 2022
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BULL Garlington Bull Garlington

Analog Attorney columnist Bull Garlington is an award-winning author, columnist and public speaker. He is the author of the books “Fat in Paris,” “The Full English,” “Death by Children” and “The Beat Cop’s Guide.” He prefers South American literature, classic jazz, Partagas 1945s, a decent Laphroaig, and makes a mean chicken and andouille gumbo. Follow him @bull_garlington.

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