Working remotely has become increasingly popular, as technology has made it easier to stay connected, no matter where you are.
But just because working from home or a coffee shop is convenient, it doesn’t mean that you will throw proper work manners out the window.
There are unwritten rules about remote work etiquette that you should follow to maintain harmony within the group.
Let’s explore this subject together, shall we?
A Quick Guide to Remote Work Etiquette (10 Helpful Tips)
If you are just starting to work remotely, chances are you’ve had to adjust to the new arrangement.
Perhaps you’re used to the traditional office setting, and all that comes with it, such as socializing with your colleagues. The water cooler chat, company lunches, and after-work drinks.
Or maybe you’ve been working from home for years and have perfected your routine. Either way, there are certain social rules you must follow when working in a remote environment.
Let’s look at some things everyone on the team should keep in mind about proper remote work etiquette:
1. Have a Written Agenda
When working remotely, clear and concise communication is essential. After all, time is money.
When conducting a meeting with your team via email or video conferencing, make sure everyone is on the same page by outlining expectations beforehand. Don’t go to a meeting unprepared, even in a remote setting.
Having a written agenda will prevent everyone from straying from the important matters that needed to be discussed.
Otherwise, each call can turn into a huge time suck, and that’s exactly what you need to avoid.
2. Be Respectful of Other People’s Time
When you schedule a meeting or video call, be mindful of everyone’s time zones and convenience.
As much as possible, try to schedule calls during established business hours. Try to make meetings as brief as possible too without compromising the essential matters at hand.
Likewise, if you need to take a break in the middle of a call, let everyone know beforehand so they can plan accordingly.
3. Be Detailed in Your Instructions
Over-communicating in a remote work environment is a lot better than under-communicating.
This is especially true when you are giving instructions or explaining aspects of a team project. This way, there will be no misunderstandings and everyone will know each detail, such as individual roles and responsibilities, workflow, and project milestones.
I also find it helpful to send video instructions to my virtual assistants. This way, if there’s something they didn’t understand at first, they can play it back as much as they want to get things right.
4. Keep Your Workspace Tidy
Just because nobody can see your messy desk doesn’t mean it’s not important to keep things clean and organized.
What if there are important files or visual aid you need to show the team? Would it be rude and embarrassing to sort through the clutter to find them while you’re in the middle of the meeting?
A tidy workspace will help you stay focused and productive while working from home.
5. Dress for Success
Even though you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean you should lounge around in your pajamas all day long. Even if that is part of your daily work routine, you should be more presentable when talking to others.
It’s good remote work etiquette to get dressed as if you were going into an office setting. At the very least, don smart-casual clothes. This will help put you in the right mindset for work mode.
6. Be Responsive and Prompt
Another essential remote work etiquette is being responsive to your team’s needs and queries.
It is also important to be prompt, especially when answering questions anyone might have. If someone sends you a message or email, try to reply as soon as possible. This will show that you’re on top of things and invested in the project at hand.
This will also prevent a lull in your workflow.
7. Take Necessary Breaks (Every 45 minutes to 1 hour)
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should work around the clock.
Take regular breaks throughout the day so you can recharge and come back refreshed. Don’t forget the importance of a good night’s sleep, too.
Seasoned archers know they need to loosen the string of their bows from time to time so they will not break easily from constant tension.
8. Set Boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries when working from home, especially if you have young children or pets.
We saw and laughed at all the funny videos of newscasters, TV personalities, office workers, and interviewees who were rudely interrupted while on a live broadcast or video call during the pandemic, right?
It’s funny because it wasn’t you who was suddenly jumped on by a cat or a toddler in the middle of an important meeting.
Let your family know when you’re unavailable so they won’t interrupt your work time unnecessarily.
9. Follow Up After Meetings
After every meeting (virtual or otherwise), make sure to follow up with an email summarizing what was discussed. Remind them also about the steps that needed to be taken in the coming days.
This will help keep everyone on track and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Putting things in writing makes a lot of difference to your desired result.
10. Give and Accept Feedback
If you’re working on a project with someone, don’t be afraid to give feedback along the way. Graciously accept some too!
Constructive criticism is essential for making progress and ensuring everyone is happy with the final product.
Following this simple set of remote work etiquette rules will help the entire work-from-home experience to be more pleasant and productive for both you and your teammates.
Key point: In a remote work environment, clear and concise communication is essential.
The Do’s of Remote Work Etiquette
While there are plenty of benefits in the work-from-home arrangement, there are some ethical considerations you should also take into account.
1. Be Respectful and Considerate of Your Co-workers
When you are all inside an office, it is easy to spot who is working hard or slacking off. But that is not the case when you’re working remotely.
The norms are blurred and the rules are unclear when nobody keeps an eye on you, so it’s hard to know what’s expected of you.
But just because you’re not in the same physical space doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your co-workers with respect. Remember to use please and thank you, avoid interrupting others when they’re talking, and don’t take credit for someone else’s work.
Basically, just follow the same basic rules of courtesy and uphold the work culture as you would if you were working in an office together.
2. Dress Appropriately for Video Meetings
It’s still important to dress professionally for virtual meetings, even though you’re not in the same room as the other attendees.
Wearing business meeting-appropriate clothing is good virtual meeting etiquette. For example, you wouldn’t want to be caught on air wearing shorts under your suit top like one newscaster was.
Always wear pants, even if you think nobody will see them. You never know when you may have to stand up.
Your boss or a client may even decide to pop into a meeting unexpectedly!
3. Set a Clear Demarcation Line Between Work and Personal Life
When you’re working remotely, it’s easy to let your work life bleed into your personal time, and vice versa.
It’s important to set firm boundaries so you don’t feel like you’re always on the clock.
Korn Ferry polled about 500 professionals in November and found that 69% said their boss expects them to respond to calls and emails outside of their regular hours. Of those surveyed, 76% said the expectation to return after-hours messages has increased.
Let your co-workers know when they can reach you and when they shouldn’t expect a response, and schedule some regular “offline” time for yourself each day.
4. Maintain a Professional Attitude at All Times
Just because you’re not in an office doesn’t mean you should let down your guard when it comes to professionalism.
There are times at work when having a positive attitude is especially important. These may include meeting with colleagues or clients, giving an important presentation to supervisors, allocating work to team members, or solving a problem for a manager or colleague.
Maintaining a positive and professional attitude at work can help you stay productive, motivate others to do their best work, and better achieve your employer’s goals.
Avoid using profanity or sharing too much personal information and resist the temptation to get involved in office politics via group chat, zoom call, or social media.
If everyone follows these basic guidelines, working remotely can be a great experience for everyone involved!
Key Takeaway: Be respectful to your fellow employees, dress professionally for video meetings, set clear boundaries between work and personal life, and maintain a professional attitude at all times.
The Don’ts of Remote Work Etiquette
When working remotely, it’s important to maintain a professional and respectful relationship with your colleagues.
Here are some things to avoid doing:
1. Being Disruptive During Team Meetings
It’s rude and distracting for everyone involved if you keep on interrupting the one speaking. The same goes for making annoying noises, antics, or gestures that catch everyone’s attention.
If you have something to say, wait until the meeting is over, or raise your hand and state your name (unless you all know each other too well) before speaking. Always ask politely to be given a chance to state your ideas or opinions.
2. Ignoring or Forgetting Deadlines
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that deadlines don’t matter.
Be sure to submit everything on time so that everyone can stay on track. Do not procrastinate just because no one is monitoring you.
A recruitment company Career Builder survey shows that 35% of employers have sacked an employee for work-related delays. Always strive to meet up with given deadlines to avoid complications.
3. Neglecting Your Personal Appearance
Just because no one will see you doesn’t mean you should let your personal appearance go into disarray.
Get dressed in meetings as if you were going to work. This will help put you in the right mindset for being productive.
People will listen to you more if you look presentable rather than when you are unkempt, unshaven, and wearing a bathrobe.
Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you can be a slob! Get dressed every day and make sure you’re meeting deadlines.
Rules to Follow When Working Remotely
When you work remotely, it’s important to be respectful of others’ time and space. That means not being disruptive or interrupting someone else’s workflow.
It also means keeping communication channels open.
And finally, do your best to maintain regular hours. Let your team know what times you’ll be available and stick to those hours as closely as possible.
Of course, you also need to take breaks and disconnect from work occasionally. It’s important to take some time for yourself during the day, otherwise, you risk burning out.
So follow these simple rules and you’ll be sure to have a successful remote working experience.
Virtual Office Etiquette
In a virtual office, it is important to be respectful of your co-workers and maintain good communication.
Some things to keep in mind include:
- Promptly responding to emails and messages.
- Keeping video calls short and focused.
- Muting yourself when you are not speaking on a call.
- Respecting others’ time by being punctual for meetings.
By following these simple etiquette tips, you can create a harmonious work environment for everyone involved!
Best General Practices for Working Remotely
Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you have the freedom to design your own workspace, set your own hours, and take breaks whenever you want.
On the other hand, it can be easy to get distracted by household chores or family members. It can also be difficult to stay connected with colleagues without face-to-face interaction.
Here are some tips for working remotely:
- Establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by things like laundry or dishes that need to be done.
- Invest in some quality office supplies so that your work area is comfortable and functional. This includes things like an ergonomic chair, a fine desk lamp, etc.
- Schedule regular check-ins with your team via video conferencing or phone calls. This will help everyone stay on track and address any issues that may arise.
- Make time for breaks, both mental and physical. Get up and move around every few hours, and take a few minutes to step away from your work to clear your head.
- Keep communication channels open by using messaging apps, video calls, or chat rooms. This will enable everyone to answer quick questions or provide updates instantly, instead of emailing back and forth constantly.
Following these tips will help you make the most of working remotely!
Key Takeaway: Working remotely can be great, but it’s essential to establish a routine, stay connected with colleagues, and take breaks to avoid burnout.
FAQ About The Remote Work Etiquette:
1. What is the most common mistake to avoid when working remotely?
One of the most common mistakes to avoid when working remotely is not setting boundaries with friends and family.
You can say the same thing about your colleagues. Just because you are home does not mean that you are available 24/7. It is important to set regular work hours and stick to them as much as possible.
This will help those around you understand when it is appropriate to interrupt your workday and respect your need for focus time. Be sure to communicate any changes in schedule ahead of time so that everyone knows what to expect.
2. What are the best ways to manage remote workers?
There are 10 best ways to manage remote workers:
- Communicate regularly and effectively
- Set clear expectations
- Define roles and responsibilities
- Build trust
- Encourage collaboration
- Promote transparency
- Support independence
- Facilitate social interactions even if it’s just online
- Encourage ongoing learning
- Avoid prolonged meetings at all cost
3. How do I keep my office culture intact while working remotely?
In today’s modern work environment, company culture is vital. According to a Glassdoor survey, 56% of employees find a good workplace culture to be more important than salary.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when trying to maintain office culture while working remotely.
First, try to create and stick to set work hours as much as possible. This will help give structure to your day and ensure that everyone is aware of when you are available for meetings or other work-related tasks.
Second, make use of video conferencing tools whenever possible. This helps simulate face-to-face interactions and better facilitate team collaboration.
Finally, don’t forget about the little things that help foster workplace camaraderie – like sharing photos from your home office setup or taking part in virtual happy hours!
4. What should a remote work policy include?
A remote work policy should include guidelines on how to communicate effectively with co-workers, how to stay productive while working remotely, and how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Whether you already joined the ranks of the work-from-home army or are thinking about it, following good remote work etiquette is important to maintain productivity and stay professional.
By following the tips above, you’re doing your part to make the remote working experience positive for everyone involved.
There are many things to consider when working remotely, and it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s why I offer services to help you with freelance writing, remote work, education, productivity, and side hustles.
I can help you learn the ropes of remote work etiquette so that you can be productive and successful in your endeavors. Contact me today to get started!