Home Office Etiquette 101

Work, like most other aspects of life, is controlled by unwritten norms. Office life in the pre-pandemic era had its own set of conventions to navigate: When should a lunch meeting be scheduled? When someone else’s meeting was running late, how long should I wait before knocking on a conference room door? However, with the office effectively migrating online, many corporate etiquette norms have now been destroyed.

Nobody could have imagined that remote work (or work from home), which had been the topic of considerable controversy and discussion for years, would suddenly become a burgeoning work style throughout the world. And, because working from home is still new to many individuals, some are still struggling to find a footing in this new setting. If you work from home, observing basic rules and knowing about work from home etiquette might help you advance in your career. The numerous internet technologies now accessible make work-from-home easier than ever. However, while remote technology such as video conferencing and instant messaging are increasingly simple to use, the etiquette of working from home is still developing.

Therefore, if you’re still struggling to find your footing in this new setting, here are a few standards of home office etiquette to help you adjust to the new reality of work from home etiquette. If you stick to these, your productivity and efficiency will increase.

Dress up as if you are at the office

Dress professionally from head to toe, not simply the visible part of your body. The interviewer may request that you stand, and also remember to maintain eye contact and to turn your phone to quiet mode.

Consider dressing as if you were going to work in an office. You could dress more casually, but wearing sweatpants or pajamas to work is not acceptable when you may receive a video call or have to join a last-minute video meeting at any time.

If you are unable to participate in a video conference, you may always make an audio call instead. However, depending on the nature of your business and the organization you work for, they may also require you to be prepared for video calls and video conferences.

One key piece of work-from-home etiquette advice is to never video conference from your couch, use your home office desk, if you have one.

Whenever possible, video chat or call

Face-to-face communication is essential, especially when working with your team. When possible, use a video conferencing tool such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Teams to communicate with your coworkers. This is the shortest way to communicate, ensuring that no information is lost or misunderstanding occurs.

When feasible, prefer to interact through video conference rather than text-based communication. While working in isolation from home, having face-to-face catch-ups helps alleviate the sense of loneliness that many of us have.

Keep in mind the various time zones

It’s critical to remember where everyone lives and to account for time zones when scheduling meetings. You don’t want your coworker’s phone to ring at 4 a.m., alerting them that a conference call is about to begin. Rotate the start time of your meetings so that the same individuals aren’t inconvenienced each time. Examine all of the participants’ calendars and chat with them personally when scheduling a meeting time to find the best solution for everyone involved.

Check your messages a few times before sending them

Making sure your communications are clear, succinct, and courteous has been a rule of thumb since businesses began using email. And, as working from home becomes more common, double-checking your written correspondence is becoming increasingly vital.

Keep your communications professional but amicable

It’s all too easy to let things go – even composing an email with all the proper etiquette might seem excessive. Online chatting is a fantastic way to remain in touch with coworkers, but it’s easy to stray off subject. It’s easy to disregard punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and even hellos and goodbyes, but keeping them demonstrates that you’re still dedicated to being professional and not breaking any of the standard office standards.

Muting your mic during video chats while you’re not speaking is also a form of respect to your coworkers. Any background noise may be both distracting to listeners and off-putting to the speaker.

Calls should be kept as brief as possible

Because 20-minute intervals are now the default choice when scheduling a calendar meeting, calls that may take a few minutes now continue considerably longer than required. Consider how long such conversations would have taken in an office before scheduling a day full of half-hour meetings. More often than not, a shorter call will be considerably more suitable.

Do not get willfully distracted during working hours and multi-task

Working from home might encourage some people to check their social network accounts regularly, read the news, and watch videos throughout the workday. Some people might easily excuse their excesses by claiming they are only temporary distractions. But, it can be a serious time consumer and viewed as inappropriate activity by your coworkers.

Your online news-feeds may ensnare you from head to toe and quickly consume important work time. Monitoring social networks might also include interacting with family and friends, which can take up precious time—during which your colleagues may be waiting for your response or decision on a current job. As a result, make this a rule: Say no to distractions.

Last but not least, the following is a list of do’s and don’ts of teleconferencing

  • Mute your microphone unless you are actively speaking.
  • Assume you are constantly on camera and audible.
  • If you are physically next to someone, avoid side discussions.
  • Take caution not to speak over others. Wait your turn politely, and if you are speaking for more than a minute at a time, pause to allow others to ask questions or request information.
  • Don’t tap pencils, move papers about, rattle ice, place coffee cups on tabletops, tap on keyboards, and make other seemingly harmless sounds.
  • If you’re in middle of a video chat, be sure your family members do not disturb you.
  • Make a list of what you want to say before the conference. Don’t ramble; instead, be concise and to the point.

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