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Remote work etiquette: 10 rules to follow

Over the past few months, the number of remote workers has increased drastically. Some newly remote employees have felt comfortable working from home since day one. Others haven’t organized their work correctly yet and are struggling to get used to the new working environment.  

In this article, we’ll dive into remote working etiquette. We will discuss ten rules that can make working from home experience more enjoyable for everyone.

1. Don’t avoid video calls

Some employees tend to avoid video calls; they don’t want their teammates to see them. And that’s a problem.

When working remotely, it’s important to stay connected to the team. When you make video calls, your colleagues can see your face, emotions, and body language. 

Therefore, you should use your camera during team meetings regularly.

Further reading: Check out our article on how to run effective remote meetings

2. Dress appropriately

The way we dress influences the way we work. If you think that you can stay productive while wearing comfy pajamas all day long, you are wrong. 

To stay focused and organized, you should wear office-like clothes – it helps switch the brain into ‘productive mode.’

3. Be mindful of time zones

Remote employees should respect each other’s time. They should make calls within business hours and be mindful of time zones. The only exceptions for calling colleagues on weekends and late nights are an urgency case or preliminary agreement. 

If you live in Seattle and your teammate lives in New York, you should understand that 5 p.m. (PDT) is the wrong time to call. Since it’s already 10 p.m. (EDT) in New York, your teammate is unlikely to want to discuss the quarterly financial report with you.

4. Test your audio and video in advance

Are you going to use a new telecommunicating tool or earbuds? Check out how they work before joining a team meeting. Call your friend or make a virtual test call. 

5. Find a perfect spot for video calls in your house

You should find a spot in your house with plenty of light and a neutral background. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your desk or office-like space. It can be your kitchen or balcony – whatever place is seen as a free-from-distracting-items background.

6. Be prepared to accept a video call

Are you invited to join a virtual team meeting? Check your equipment, clean your desk, set up the camera and lighting, and get ready to accept a call at least 5 minutes before the meeting starts.

Further reading: Are you currently in the process of hiring remotely? Check out our guide on how to master the art of video interviewing

7. Mute your microphone

Remote work etiquette suggests that you should keep your microphone muted during the meeting, and unmute it only when you want to make a speech or ask a question. 

Amelia Clarkson, a freelance writer at TrustMyPaper, explains: “When microphones of all participants are muted, the negative impact of annoying background noise is minimized. The team can concentrate on the work and problems discussed.”

8. Introduce yourself before you talk

Have you been invited to a group call without video? Don’t forget that you need to comply with the etiquette rule and introduce yourself to the audience. Since your teammates can’t see your face, it will be challenging for them to detect who is talking. 

Once you unmute your microphone, say something like, “Hi everyone! It’s [Your First Name]. I want to ask a question/ to offer a solution.” It will help you to smooth communication and prevent misunderstandings.

9. Don’t multitask

Do you believe that you can multitask like a pro? Well, if you ever try to multitask while having a video call, your co-workers will spot that. Your face looks different when you are attentively listening to the participants and when you are surfing the web. 

So don’t try to trick your teammates. Don’t multitask. If you do it, you will likely miss some important information and probably even offend your co-worker by your inattentiveness. 

10. Don’t stare at yourself

Pretty often, we can’t stop staring at ourselves during a video chat. Researchers say it’s likely because we are overwhelmed. Since video chats are more stressful than face to face interaction, we look at ourselves to find calmness.   

However, when you stare at yourself for too long, you look weird to others and distract yourself from the conversation. It would help if you taught yourself to look at the speaker and other participants, not your own image. In such a way, you will show your teammates that you are an attentive listener and a dedicated employee. 

Conclusion

When everyone is following remote work etiquette rules, it’s easy to avoid distractions and stay productive. We highly suggest you reread this article and start using the tips given. 

Further reading: 10 essential remote work policies you need to adopt

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