Yes, you’re working from home. It feels odd. It feels good.
Odd because you’ve never had your family staring at you while you’re working or thinking. Good because you’ve managed to avoid travel or commute.
Now that you’ve settled down to the new format of remote working after all the technical gyaan about the new apps and new servers, you need to get familiar with the new etiquette of “the new normal”.
Here are the different aspects of office etiquette you need to keep in mind while remote working.
1. Don’t eat while in the video calls!
2. Dress appropriately. Maybe not formally. Try to pull off casual clothes in style. The point is to avoid shabby outfits.
3. Mute your audio when others are speaking for a long time. The noise in your background (like that of the fan) can reach others if your unmuted.
4. Stop your video if there’s a lot of activity in your background. People coming and going in your frame can distract others.
5. Try to have a plain, non-distracting background. A wall is the best.
6. Some apps let you have a virtual background. Choose what does not interfere with your appearance.
7. The hierarchy followed in offline meetings may not apply here. So, you don’t have to sit after the seniors sit. Everyone is sitting. But be mindful about greeting others.
8. Don’t think of the meeting as an audition for getting cast in a big movie! You’ll overcome your camera-shyness soon.
9. If you feel too conscious about the camera, think of it this way: nobody can see you in 4K or HD. So relax. Or downgrade your video settings if you’re worried about people watching your location in 3D!
10. Acquire digital literacy skills. You’ll be a pro soon. You won’t have to fumble while sharing a screen.
11. Do a trial beforehand especially for the meetings in which you’re presenting something. Catch hold of a colleague or a friend. Exactly the way you would do for an offline meeting.
12. Keep other devices away. It’s odd to check notifications on the phone in offline meetings when others are speaking. The same rule applies here too.
13. Keep your devices away from food and drinks. You may end up damaging them by accident!
14. Some apps are controlled by the host who’s called the meeting. Some are not. If you are not the host, be alert regarding when to speak.
15. If you’re going to be late, inform all. It’s polite and shows you are not taking anyone’s time for granted.
16. You can’t judge what people are thinking because you don’t have access to their expressions. While some are hidden, the others are not showing what they think about an idea. Ask everyone to speak to know what they’re thinking instead of assuming anything.
17. Have back up options to share your presentations so that no one misses anything.
18. Have back up options for the whole meeting itself in case one app crashes.
Your home is your new office. Treat your work area professionally. The others in the meeting don’t have access to your personal situation. Explain your issue or discomfort if you have any. They are very likely to understand. It’s a new set up for most people any way.
What office etiquette have you been following? Do you get any formal instructions from your office? Do share your thoughts too and help others adjust to remote working too.