With COVID-19 affecting the lives of most working Americans, we have learned to transition from in-person work to remote. Our normal workday routines have transformed over the past year. No longer preparing ourselves for a day at the office, we may skip the normal morning rituals, opting rather for comfort and convenience. But it is important to adopt a working from home etiquette.
For those who are new to this experience, working from home brings about new challenges. Our goal is to help your success follow you from the office to your home. With these eleven remote work etiquette tips, you will remain professional and productive.
1.) Dress The Part:
The temptation to roll out of bed and get behind the work computer shouldn’t be indulged. We are more productive if we dress as if we were going into the office. Of course, it makes little sense to put on a suit and tie and a pair of dress shoes, but dressing in office-appropriate casual wear will make you feel more productive.
Jogging pants and a t-shirt may be comfortable, but it’s not very good remote meeting etiquette. There’s plenty of videos where employees didn’t take virtual dress codes seriously; you don’t want to be that person.
2.) Communication Is Key:
Companies worry that sending employees home to work will cause a decrease in productivity. Be sure to answer emails and other messages from supervisors and co-workers as quickly as possible.
You want your boss to know that you are still a productive team member. Clients also want to know that work quality and productivity won’t be affected by the shift from in-office to the remote.
Also, be sure to update your status when you are unavailable. Programs such as Skype and Outlook allow you to keep the team informed when you are away from your computer. This will allow project managers to know not to send an urgent assignment to you if you are away or on vacation.
3.) Answer Video Calls:
Understandably, you may have anxiety about communicating via video calls, but it is important to make these face-to-face interactions. Working a virtual office job will often require you to attend virtual meetings, don’t avoid them.
This allows you to stay connected with team members. It will also keep you mentally alert during the day. Also, staying connected with coworkers will help your mental health. Studies have shown that remote working can cause people to feel lonely, which can cause depression.
4.) Be Prepared For Video Calls:
Check your equipment. Make sure that you set your device up to receive video calls and that the audio works correctly. Whether you are using the computer speakers and microphone or you are using a headset, test it before the call is set to begin.
Nothing is more frustrating for you or the client if the first part of the meeting is spent trying to get things working correctly. This will send a message to the client that you are unprofessional and ill-equipped, which may lose your future contracts.
5.) Designated Office Space:
One of the best practices working remotely is to have an actual office space or office area. You want a place that is away from distractions and background noise. It should be well lit; this will be important during video calls.
You don’t want to be working on your laptop at the kitchen table. You want to make sure that everything you need is close by and accessible. If your printer or fax machine is in another room, you may get distracted going to retrieve a document.
6.) Time Zones:
Be aware of the difference in time zones when contacting team members. Realize that when it’s 5 PM in Los Angeles, it’s already 8 PM in New York City. You don’t want to be contacting someone during personal time.
7.) Introduce Yourself:
During calls and even video meetings, remember that not everyone may know your voice. Start with stating your name and title. This will let new team members know your name and what you do in the company. It will also give people a quick moment to prepare for a new topic and take notes or ask questions.
8.) Describe Meeting Topics:
When inviting coworkers to a meeting, be sure to add what you’ll be discussing. Be descriptive, so that team members will know if they need to attend, and it will also allow them to be prepared. You don’t want to waste time getting everyone up to speed on the topic of the meeting.
9.) Respect Other’s Time:
Don’t schedule early meetings. It may seem that getting started early will be productive, but remember that some employees have children that they have to get ready for the day. Just because an employee may no longer have to commute to work doesn’t mean they don’t need that extra time to get started.
10.) Pay Attention During Video Calls:
You may think that it is a good idea to multi-task, and you usually would be correct, but not during video meetings. An excellent virtual office etiquette practice is to stay focused on the person speaking and not to stare at yourself. To the other attendees, you will look weird if you never move. Stay engaged in the conversation, nod, or give a thumbs up.
11.) Don’t Get Distracted:
One of the work from home best practices is to stay focused and productive. Make yourself a work schedule. Set times you will be working and schedule plenty of breaks and even lunch. This will keep you free of distractions while you complete your work. Remote working can be a pleasant change of pace, but you don’t want to get distracted by watching videos online, catching up on the news, and scrolling through social media.
These are just a few working remotely from home best practices, but they will help you be successful during the day-to-day. Keep these tips in mind to have excellent remote work etiquette and to stay productive.