It’s easy to let routine and work etiquette slip when you’re working from home. You set your alarm for 8:00 so you can shower first and have breakfast, but it gets put on snooze until 9:15 when you really have to be up. You have a video call in about fifteen minutes with some colleagues, so you spray your hair with some dry shampoo before throwing a decent enough jumper or jacket over your pyjama top. It’s a video call so they’re not going to be able to tell, right?
Workplace etiquette and your routine, to at least some degree, ought to be maintained when working from home. While office politics, attire, handshakes and the like seem like half the world away, keeping some level of courtesy and etiquette while remote working displays professionalism and commitment. At the end of the day, you’re still at work. You’re just in a different setting.
KEEP IT CORDIAL
It’s really easy to let things slip – even writing out an email with all the polite trimmings can seem like too much. Online chatting is a great way to stay connected with colleagues, but it’s easy to get off topic. It’s tempting to let punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and even hellos and goodbyes go out the window, but hanging on to them shows that you’re still committed to being professional and not letting any of the regular office codes slip.
General courtesy towards your coworkers can also include muting your mic during video calls when you’re not speaking. Any background noise can be distracting for listeners and off-putting for the one speaking. Finding a quiet place in general to conduct calls and video chats will also be very appreciated – this means no business calls in the supermarket self-checkout.
PARTIALLY DRESSED FOR PARTIAL SUCCESS
Getting up and getting ready and dressed before work helps you stick to your routine, as well as helping you look presentable before your five back to back video calls. It puts you in frame of mind when approaching work, rather than rolling out of bed and starting straight away. Showing that you’ve put conscious effort into your appearance won’t go unnoticed. It shows that while working from home you can still maintain an air of professionalism. No one wants to see your pyjamas, even if they have dinosaurs on them.
Of course, your colleagues also don’t have to know about the sweatpants on the lower half of you.
The allure of doing something else when there is no work to be done is a definite danger when working from home. We’re not saying that you have to be ultra-productive 24/7, but clocking out and marathoning the extended Lord of the Rings while on work hours even when you’ve not got much on isn’t the best approach either. It’s still on work time so you should stay as available and as contactable as possible. If others find you hard to reach even when they know where you are can send bad signs. The same goes for social media, try to limit your posting during work hours as well.
On the flip side, no one is expecting you to be glued to your laptop for eight hours. Going out for a walk or to grab a nice lunch is perfectly fine. Dropping a line with your boss just to let them know where you’re at and what you’re up to (not a full blown report and itinerary, just a couple of sentences summarizing will do) will be appreciated.
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