The etiquette of the vastness of virtual work

Virtual work, off-site engagement and/or remote work is something most are experiencing, have experienced and/or will experience. It appears as though the vast world of being virtual is growing.

Since there are norms that develop in environments (in-person or otherwise), ensure your virtual work etiquette is a Do and not a DON’T. After all, how you present is how you are remembered … whether with others, in the same space, or across miles or the Internet.

Not a lot that stands true in our more traditional work doesn’t apply to the virtual environment and yet sharing some guidelines may clear up the questions that may be on your mind.

While we may not see everyone a lot, or see them only as an image on a screen or screen name, each person deserves respect and consideration, I dare say, the courtesy extended applies as though that person is a co-located team member or person with whom we meet in person.

  1. Have a dedicated workspace that is your “office” or “workspace” rather than taking work everywhere and keep it tidy.
  2. If you are in a shared space, or food/drink establishment, when remote – do buy something and leave a tip. Wherever you are, communicate with whoever else is in that space with clear boundaries. Be mindful – no video meetings, Facetime or speakerphone meetings in shared spaces.
  3. Answer the phone with a greeting, name and company.
  4. Be ready for video at all time meaning get ready for work and dress for work, including your face, hair, clothes and shoes.
  1. Be on time and respectful of time.
  2. Plan ahead – no meetings on the phone while doing something else. Be present, not just virtually present, meaning resist multi-tasking – it doesn’t work! Eat and take care of all personal things outside of calls and meetings.
  3. Ensure the date, time and time zone for meetings are spelled out – not my time, or your time, rather Eastern, Central Mountain or Pacific – use the client’s time zone to schedule, not yours.
  4. Ask, don’t assume – lead with video as the request. Then, from that, the other person will let you know if s/he prefers in-person, phone.
  1. Prioritize documentation and clear communication by being prepared with an agenda for any call or video meeting.
  2. Do the due diligence to be professional in a video meeting with the following: test devices, such as phones or cameras, prior to a meeting or call. This will keep you from not being able to be heard or asking the dreaded “Can you hear me?” Be eye level with the camera, check your lighting to ensure you can be seen regardless of the time of day, sit with natural light in front of you, have a lamp/ring light behind the laptop/computer, turn off a fan overhead, do not be vain by watching yourself and fixing your hair and make-up, and finally, mute yourself when not speaking.


Be engaged, stay active and energized with these ten tips for virtual etiquette, as they assist you in real impact, in a remote environment!

Debbie Lundberg is a certified life coach, certified leadership coach and certified image consultant who speaks, facilitates, trains and coaches throughout the country. She is author of Presenting Powerfully, serves as an honorary commander at MacDill Air Force Base and is a recent member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Learn more at

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