Working remotely is much different than working in the office, so naturally, the rules, schedule, and workplace etiquette may take some getting used to. In order to get used to this new normal, there are several guidelines that you should put into place, to help make your transition to remote working as smooth as possible. Let’s explore some best practices to keep in mind, and discover some remote workplace etiquette tips from business experts so that you and your team will be efficient, productive, and successful while working remotely.
Ryan Brown, Integrated Marketing Director Kenra Professional
Learning how to communicate effectively in a remote workplace is key to virtual office etiquette. You must remember to be mindful of your colleague’s time, while also communicating in a way that helps your message to come across as clear as possible. For example, if you need to give a colleague a lot of important details about a project, send an email so that they can reference it later. On the other hand, if you want to check in on a colleague, a call will provide a more personal touch. For team-meetings, communicating via video-call will encourage interaction and engagement among employees, and will lead to better team development over time.
Being on Time
Jeff Henretig, President Apothecanna
One of the biggest struggles for individuals who are adjusting to working remotely is being on time to meetings and conference calls. This will lead to poor office etiquette and will leave your colleagues in a bind while they wait for you. Instead, set reminders each day so that you will be on time for all of your meetings and calls. Be sure to test out your equipment beforehand, to make sure that your audio and video capabilities are functioning well. You can also eliminate distractions by having your calls in a quiet area, free from noise or visual distractions. Practicing these tips will show off your professionalism and etiquette while working remotely.
Make Yourself Available
Ben Thompson, CEO Hardwood Bargains
When adjusting to working from home, it is important to continue to make yourself available to colleagues and managers. At the office, leaving your door open is an easy visual cue for others to see that you’re available, however with remote working, those visual cues will often take place on a digital platform. If your company uses Skype for Business, make sure that you are marked “available”, and that your green dot is lit up, if you are available to take calls. You can also set office hours so that colleagues know that you are available online. This will help you to keep a clear line of communication and collaboration with your team.
Ben Teicher, President and CEO Healthy Directions
One of the perks of working from home is being able to wear a more relaxed and casual wardrobe. However, make sure that you dress professionally if you have a video call meeting to attend with your peers or with clients. This is a simple way to show your remote workplace etiquette, while also showing that you are taking your role seriously, and are alert during the call. If you have a morning call scheduled, make sure that you get a good night’s sleep so that you can wake up early, wash your face, and eat a healthy meal to get your day started before your morning appointment. However, make sure that you finish your breakfast ahead of time, and that you don’t eat during the meeting, as this can be distracting to other colleagues.
Set Expectations With Your Family or Roommates
Chris Hetherington, Founder and CEO Peels
Working remotely offers employees a healthy work-life balance. When transitioning to your virtual work-from-home space, it is important to set expectations with your family or roommates. Since you will be sharing your space with others, sometimes this can cause efficiency to drop. Talk to your family or the people living with you about your schedule. This will help them to better understand the flow of your day, and when you will be available. Let them know when you have a call ahead of time, so that loud noises and interruptions can be prevented.
Be Present in Virtual Meetings
Benjamin Smith, Founder Disco
When working remotely, many companies rely on virtual meetings to communicate as a team. Having the proper etiquette in these meetings is critical to being present and adding value to the discussion. This can include having your video on, but muting yourself if you are not speaking to avoid distracting others with background noise. You should also try to take part in these virtual meetings in a quiet space in your home that is well-lit, and with a clutter-free background, if possible. Making sure that you are paying attention, nodding, and giving visual cues are also great ways to participate in remote meetings.
Schedule Time to Socialize
Kelli Lane, Chief Marketing Officer Genexa
Every company is different when it comes to socializing and team-building. However, scheduling time to socialize with your co-workers is always recommended, as this will help to strengthen communication and collaboration within your team. Enjoy the flexibility that comes with working remotely, and set aside time once a month for a team outing or meal. Connecting with your co-workers will help you to enjoy your work more as well, which is why having check-ins at meetings is also important.
Focus on Deadlines and Goals, Not Employee Activity
Matt Seaburn, Partner and President Rent A Wheel
One of the main reasons why employees enjoy working remotely is that they don’t have a manager constantly monitoring their every move. This encourages employees to feel more relaxed in their work environment, and in turn, should drive progress and productivity. Remember to practice good remote workplace etiquette by being a leader who focuses on deadlines and encouraging employees to meet goals, rather than constantly monitoring employee activity. Trusting your staff in a remote workplace is huge, as it allows your team to shine on their own as they manage their workflow, while also letting you take a step back as well. You can always schedule a status email mid-week to check in with employees on how a project is going, but in a remote workplace, remember that results are the key.
Set Boundaries on When to Message Co-Workers
Derin Oyekan, Co-Founder Reel Paper
When it comes to working from home, finding the right balance between work and family time can be quite the balancing act. However, setting boundaries when it comes to your schedule and when to message co-workers will help to establish proper etiquette when working remotely. For instance, nobody wants to get messages when they are through with work hours and are trying to spend time with family. Therefore, talk with your team and figure out what people’s working hours will be, and set boundaries up front about “after hours” messaging. This will help to respect everyone’s private life, while also ensuring that the majority of work is getting done during “work hours”.
Don’t Forget About Time Zones
Katie Lyon, Co-Founder Allegiance Flag Supply
People who work remotely have the ability to work from all over the world, so remembering to be aware of your co-worker’s time zones is an important etiquette tip. Also, if you are setting deadlines, try to be respectful of time zones, and set deadlines at an appropriate hour where employees can get their work done at a realistic time. You should also clarify what time the expected “end of day” is, so that team members do not accidentally schedule meetings that clash with another co-worker’s time zone.
Stick to Your Regular Work-Day Schedule
Roma Priya, Founder Burgeon Law
Getting organized and being mindful of creating boundaries between work and personal life is the key to an efficient work from home strategy. One needs to identify when to work and where to work without getting pulled into domestic chores or personal matters while remote working. Start your day early and stick to your regular working schedules every day. Laying out clear guidelines for employees and scheduling all deliverables will help employees meet deadlines and check the maximum items of his/her task list. Another important factor is to schedule your breaks as you would if you were working within the office premises and not take leeway and stretch these breaks. One can also utilize the time spent on ordinary days commuting to and fro from work in favor of family time and self-care.
Make Sure Your Team Has The Equipment They Need
Neha Bagaria, Founder and CEO Jobsforher
Many companies are now encouraging further social distancing by announcing mandatory work from home and sending their employees home to work remotely. This is the best option for organizations where a few employees have traveled or are in contact with those who have traveled. Companies are also concerned about the health and safety of their employees whose exposure increases when commuting to work and meeting other colleagues. Gather a cross-functional team together that includes business-line leaders, IT, HR, communications and facilities to plan for different scenarios and optimize execution to ensure that there is minimal impact on the business when everyone connects remotely. Ensure your employees have the required infrastructure at home to be able to work remotely. Use sharing tools such as G Suite (Drive, Sheets, Docs, Slides) to collaborate live on documents when working in teams. The absence of face-to-face communication can be frustrating. So last but not the least — trust your teams while providing them guard rails with the flexibility to deliver with clearly defined targets.
Once you get used to your new schedule and space, you will find that working remotely offers unique flexibility and many benefits to your work-life balance. Remember to implement these remote workplace etiquette tips and you will see your productivity and efficiency skyrocket over time. Enjoy this opportunity to work from home, and these best practices will become second nature in no time.