Remote working is becoming more and more popular since the pandemic hit, with many companies, law firms and others switching to a hybrid or remote working environment. Many people are navigating their virtual workspace for the first time, which can seem quite challenging for many.
Here are some remote working etiquette tips from business experts and leaders, to help you boost your productivity and efficiency, and respect your co-workers while remote working from home.
Many lawyers have been working from home and although the ability to work remotely may alter a little depending upon the nature of any lawyer’s work, the answer as to whether they can work remotely from home is generally ‘Yes’. Even for court lawyers there are many courts that are working with partial court closures or with altered arrangements using zoom hearings, teleconferencing and videoconference hearings.
Working remotely from home has become accepted within the legal profession as much, or even more in some cases, as in any other profession or business.
Set Expectations With Your Family, Friends, and Roommates
Brett Sohns, Founder LifeGoal Investments
Working remotely can be great for finally having a healthy work-life balance. However, when transiting from working in the office to working from home, it is important to sit down with your family or roommates, and discuss what your new work situation is going to look like. If you are sharing a space with others, be sure to let them know about your schedule ahead of time, in order to avoid any loud noises or interruptions during your meetings.
Stay Up To Date With The Latest Equipment
Rob Bartlett, CEO WTFast
Staying up to date with the latest online tools and equipment is essential to your daily job as a remote worker. Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it will allow you to work better independently and as a team. Remember to use sharing tools such as G Suite, so that everyone on your remote team can access information, communicate, and work together to solve problems.
Respect Your Co-Workers’ Time
Amaury Kosman, CEO Circular
When working remotely, one of the key etiquette tips to remember is to respect others’ time. If you are about to send a meeting request out to an individual, try to think about whether you could save time by instead sending an email or jumping on a quick call. Oftentimes, remote workers can get bombarded with meeting requests and messages, so finding the most direct means of communication will help to get the task done in an efficient manner.
Also, make sure that you keep your messages to employees during working hours, so that you don’t encroach on their off time.
Find a Quiet, Dedicated Work Space
Akhilesh Srivastava, Founder & CEO Fenix Commerce
One of the key things to remember when transitioning from the office to working from home is that finding a quiet, dedicated work space will help you to be more efficient and focused during work hours. Having a defined office space will also help to train your brain, and get you ready for work-mode. For your home office, find a small room in your home, or a quiet corner away from noise, to set up your desk, monitor, equipment, and supplies that you’ll need for the work day. Having all of the necessary items closeby will help to eliminate the need to spend time wandering around your house, or taking too many breaks.
Focus on Goals
Daniel Patrick, Founder DANIEL PATRICK
As a leader in a remote workplace, sometimes you may fall into the trap of monitoring employee activity, when instead you should trust your employees, and focus on the goals you set for them. This will help your employees to feel more relaxed while on the job, and will encourage them to manage their workflow in an efficient manner. Making sure that your employees are meeting the deadlines and achieving goals is how to reach success and gain higher productivity levels in a remote work environment.
Be Present and Stay Alert In Meetings
Mehdi Marrakchi, CEO Mob Hookah
With Zoom meetings becoming the new way of face-to-face communication for remote workers, it is important to remember certain etiquette tips to ensure that you are engaged in your meetings. For example, things like making eye contact, sitting up straight in your chair, asking questions, and remembering when to use the mute button are all critical parts to staying engaged in online video calls. When it comes to eye contact, remember to look straight into the camera when you can, but also feel free to be natural and look at everyone else in the meeting as well. Having the Zoom etiquette will leave your colleagues feeling refreshed and eager to work with you on tasks.
Make Your Schedule Accessible
Kevin Miller, Founder KevinMiller.com
One major way to avoid scheduling headaches and to provide transparency, is to make your schedule public and accessible. This way, colleagues will know the best times to reach you. You can do this by using Google Calendar to post your regular work hours to block times when you are busy. If you use other tools such as Skype for Business, monitoring your online presence status will also help to let you colleagues know when you are available.
Be Responsive To Your Team
Max Tuchman, CEO and Co-Founder Caribu
Maintaining a clear line of communication is vital to practicing remote workplace etiquette. This can be done by responding to emails and calls in a timely manner, as well as being available for messages during the day. You should also be mindful of time zones if your colleagues work in different parts of the country, or world, and try to send communications or respond during their working hours, if possible. Establishing communication guidelines and expectations with your team up front will help you to be more productive and responsive during the workday.
Engaging With Your Colleagues
Adam Mitchell, CEO Sponsorpulse
When working remotely, it’s important to engage with your colleagues on a consistent basis. Scheduling regular meetings via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or otherwise provides a great opportunity to create a connection despite not being physically together. Leveraging other communication vehicles such as Slack create opportunities to drive efficiency, while also providing an informal channel to celebrate wins, big and small, or share important team wide information.
Being On Time
Evan Zhao, CEO and Co-Founder Revela
One of the biggest time-savers that workers look forward to when working remotely is being able to eliminate their commute. This alone can save you hours of waiting in traffic, allowing you to get more sleep, or even pushing up your work start time. Since there is no commuting, however, that also means no excuses. Being on time to meetings and calls is essential to maintaining proper etiquette in a workplace. Do not make your colleagues wait for you at the start of a meeting. Instead, be sure to set your alarm, find a quiet room in your home, test your technology beforehand, and be on time to your scheduled events.
Heather Yurovsky, Founder Shatter & Shine
The biggest difference between working from home and working in the office is that you are in charge of your environment and have to treat yourself like an employee. Don’t underestimate the power of putting on clothes suitable for public viewing. It makes you feel human [and] confident and helps draw the line between being at work and being at home. If you feel yourself extending your work hours because you aren’t doing anything in the evening…tell yourself it’s time to put work away, recharge, and start tomorrow with a fresh mind. The work will be there in the morning.
Have A Quality Home Office Tech Setup
Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman Ogilvy
When you’re at home, rig up a good video setup with nice headphones, a quality microphone, and lighting. And devote blocks of time to video calls. One of the things that emerges from the research is that switching costs are high. If you switch from a physical meeting to email to another email on a different subject to a calendar to a video meeting to another email – every time you switch modes, you waste time. Have dedicated blocks of time for virtual contact and dedicated blocks of time for face-to-face contact.
All in all, working remotely from home or from other locations is a great way to maintain efficiency and productivity, while also creating a better work-life balance. Remember to follow these remote working etiquette tips, and to continue building those relationships with co-workers, just as you would at the office. This will ultimately make remote working enjoyable and productive for all.