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BUSINESS ETIQUETTE FOR REMOTE WORKERS

Many of us find ourselves working at home thanks to the novel coronavirus, and more than a few find it challenging. The current situation is already stressful enough without sitting through a conference call where one coworker is chewing ice and another has a terrible connection. 

This does not make for a productive work environment. 

While the etiquette called for in today’s remote workplace doesn’t include handshakes and hand-written thank-you notes, the classic rules of business manners still matter. 

Because they aren’t across the hall from their bosses, telecommuters feel pressure to make their presence and productivity known to their coworkers and managers. And if your job includes customer service or public relations, you’ll need to work hard to manage your personal brand and professional reputation from afar.

Here are five rules of remote business so you’re never the “unproductive teleworker nowhere to be found”: 

DON’T STOP COMMUNICATING WITH THE BOSS 

The missing remote worker is an employer’s worst nightmare. If your boss doesn’t know what you’re doing, they’ll assume what you’re doing (like cleaning, cooking, or binge-watching Netflix) whether you’re really MIA or actively at work. Use emails, conference calls, and online meetings to tell them what you’ve done, discuss problems, offer solutions, present ideas, and fill them in on the state of projects. 

KEEP COMMUNICATING WITH COLLEAGUES 

To really be a team player, your team needs to see and hear from you. Whether you’re instant messaging or video conferencing, take the time to learn about them, recognize their efforts, and thank them to establish good working relationships. Consistent feedback in real time is especially important if you’re working on projects together. 

BE PROFESSIONAL IN ONLINE MEETINGS 

Pay attention, be on time, don’t multitask, engage with questions, and get to know the attendees on the line. Dress professionally and save the snacks for later. 

SSSHH … KEEP THE NOISE DOWN 

Learn to master your mute button. Crying kids and playful dogs will ruin calls and meetings for everyone.

RESPECT GEOGRAPHICAL DIFFERENCES 

Before you schedule a meeting or send an urgent email, check the time zones of the recipients. No one wants to check their inbox in the evening or attend a 6 a.m. meeting.

Communication and collaboration are now critical for companies that value time management and teamwork — and hey, keeping the dialogue going helps you beat the isolation of telecommuting.

Remember, many of your coworkers — and possibly yourself — are being asked to use technology in new ways with little to no training. And everyone’s stressed. Dialing into conference calls, email issues, video conferencing and social media can be challenging for people who don’t use them regularly. Be patient, friendly and have a sense of humor. Soon you and your coworkers will be able to return to working together in the office, where everything always goes smoothly — right?