The Golden Rules Of Remote Work Etiquette
It’s no secret that remote work has become significantly more common recently, first as it was required due to the Coronavirus pandemic and then as employees and employers made the decision to continue with remote work arrangements indefinitely.
Today, many businesses are operating remotely and in multiple countries, raising the question of what remote work etiquette is. What should employees keep in mind while navigating the remote work environment?
In this article, we’ll lay out the most important rules of remote work etiquette.
Be On Time
There’s no denying that working from home may feel more casual than working from the office. After all, you could be wearing your pajamas and nobody will be none the wiser. But don’t allow the sense of comfort you have in your own home to lead you to slack on some of the basic rules of the working world, such as being on time.
If you are expected to log in to work at 9 am, you’d better meet that expectation. If a meeting begins at noon, connect to it at least by noon, if not a few minutes before. It’s a simple matter of respect.
In fact, working from home should allow you to be even more timely than you were in the office, as you no longer have unanticipated variables like traffic impacting your ability to get to work on time.
One of the most relevant advantages to remote work is the flexibility that it can offer employees. Now, instead of having to be at a specific place at specific, set hours, you can work from a variety of locations, often at the hours that work for you. Now, fitting a doctor’s appointment or a school pick-up into your schedule is no longer a hassle.
That being said, this kind of freedom requires a lot of communication. Your team and managers should always know when to expect you to be “at work” and when not. Clear, defined working hours are incredibly important for your team members to know what to expect from you, so if you are going to stray from your typical working hours, make sure to communicate and make this clear. Nobody should be left wondering why you’ve gone AWOL for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.
Get Your Tech in Working Order
Remote work requires quite a bit of technology, including a strong, consistent internet connection, a webcam with high-quality audio and video, and lots of various software. And it’s your responsibility to make sure that all of this technology is functioning properly so that you can do your job and communicate effectively with your co-workers.
Because one of the most annoying remote work faux-pas is when you say you can’t turn your camera on in the meeting because it isn’t working, or you aren’t able to work on a specific project because you’re having a problem with the VPN, or you can’t get connected at all because your wi-fi is down.
So go ahead and make sure that everything is in working order. Your company may even be able to help you with that. But it’s up to you to get any issues sorted out before they get in the way of your ability to get your job done.
Be At Work
Every employer’s worst nightmare about remote work is that their employees will be taking care of personal business while on the clock and they won’t have any way to know about it. And while it may be tempting to take a personal call or spend half an hour on Facebook in the middle of the remote work day - after all, who will it harm? - it’s an absolute remote work etiquette no-no.
Here is the golden rule: if you wouldn’t do it in the office, don’t do it while working remotely. If you’re doing something you wouldn’t want your boss to see if they happened to be passing by your desk, then just go ahead and save it for after work hours or during your lunch break.
After all, remote work is based on your employer trusting you to really do what is asked of you with the working hours you’re being paid for. Using your work time for personal matters is not only a breach of this trust, but it’s also rude and disrespectful to your superiors and your co-workers. Plus, it’ll make it harder for you to be efficient enough to get your work done. So leave it for later; cat videos can wait.
Think Carefully About How You Communicate
The fact that clear, consistent communication is a must in the remote work environment is obvious. But it raises a question of how to communicate. After all, there are so many different options, ranging from shooting off a quick instant message to sending an email to scheduling a video conference. And each of these types of communication is appropriate for different scenarios.
So don’t be that person who makes everybody put on a nice shirt and log into a video meeting for a topic that could have been easily covered in an email. And don’t expect an instant message to be sufficient to explain something complex.
The bottom line? Be thoughtful about the communication channels you’re using. In fact, don’t hesitate to ask the people you are communicating with which channel they would prefer to use for the particular topic at hand.
We’re in the dawn of a remote work revolution.
This means that we’re blazing the trail of something new, which can come with a lot of grey areas when it comes to etiquette and what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior. We hope that this article was able to help you get an understanding of how to behave in the remote work “place” moving forward as we take a giant step into the age of remote work.
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