The etiquette of navigating remote work

While many organizations used to consider some roles as remote-optional, and other companies have completely remote teams, this current environment has more businesses embracing, accepting or event resorting to remote work as part of our current “normal.”

You may be wondering what the DOs and DON’Ts of remote work from an employee and management perspective are and here are a few to consider:

Remote EMPLOYEE:

DO call it working remotely, remote work, off-site work or working off-site, as that means you can do it anywhere and work is the focus.

DON’T refer to it as “working from home” since that mixes the idea of work and home life and it, sadly, still implies to many people that you are “goofing off” while getting a few things managed.

 

DO make a schedule and stick to it.

DON’T ignore standing meetings and other requests.

 

DO go to bed and get up on a similar plan/schedule as before.

DON’T rob your employer by sleeping when you are supposed to be working.

 

DO be available.

DON’T think people don’t know that if you do not pick up a call that you are truly ignoring them now.

 

DO call and set up video conferencing, as this is a time to stay connected.

DON’T depend solely on technology (emails and texts), as that can get impersonal.

 

DO set up a space designated for your work or as an office.

DON’T take work outside of that space.

 

DO get up and get ready for work in a similar way you did before in order to be in a professional disposition (and ready for Facetime, Zoom, and/or Skype calls).

DON’T stay in your PJs all day, as that is a mindset as well as a wardrobe choice!

 

DO take breaks and lunch, and log off, get up every hour and walk around, meditate, breathe and be away for a bit.

DON’T think by being on and available all the time that you are a “better person,” rather that means you are not likely taking care of you.

 

DO be mindful of what you are asking for while temporarily working remotely.

DON’T get upset if there is not budget for you to get three monitors and a stand up desk.

 

DO eat mindfully and nourish your body with foods that are nutrition-rich and satisfying.

DON’T stress eat processed food, and then blame the situation for bad eating – you are making choices.

 

DO explain to your family members what remote work means and where the boundaries are.

DON’T allow animals and other family members to interrupt calls/meetings.

 

DO exercise (yes, even if you normally do not – consider your travel/commute time as an opportunity to move your body for the betterment of your physical and mental self).

DON’T become a couch potato. Without sunlight, or movement from the couch, walking to and from the refrigerator is not enough movement to keep you well. Go outside and move.

 

Remote MANAGER:

DO let people know you care.

DON’T complain that you have to work remotely.

 

DO get, or stay, positive in tone and energy.

DON’T get impatient or negative (in fact, have more tolerance than you typically would).

 

DO listen to team member concerns about their family, home or productivity.

DON’T say “It is what it is,” “I know” or “I understand,” rather share that you hear them and ask if they want to vent or problem solve together (before you simply start trying to fix what they are discussing).

 

DO pay attention to the times of emails and calls to encourage people to take breaks.

DON’T tell people they need to be on 24/7, now that there are no travel or co-worker distractions.

 

DO encourage remote workers to take care of themselves to be their best at this time.

DON’T get on people for taking breaks or making a post or two on social media (providing the posts aren’t complaints about their job) and keep in mind, some people schedule posts prior to them showing on social media.

 

DO check in on how people and their families are doing.

DON’T ignore signs of challenge or struggle.

 

DO practice empathy and have your Employee Assistance Provider available or someone in human resources available to discuss stress, pressures and this change.

DON’T let people feel they cannot approach you or confide in you by telling people to “Suck it up” or “You’re lucky to still have a job.”

 

DO communicate early, and often, by offering as much information about your company, firm, organization or department as you can.

DON’T say “I don’t know” when you do, rather share what you are able to share as people are not feeling connected right now and communication bridges trust and connection.

 

DO check technology before using it.

DON’T claim technology is a pain or that you “don’t get technology.”

 

DO convey and share.

DON’T create confusion or a sense of not being “in the know” for team members.

 

DO lead by example.

DON’T think people will forget how you treated them, during this transition period, when things are back to normal.

 

Keep in mind that things are in a heightened state of strain and uncertainty, so grace, consideration and perspective go a long way as employees, and as managers, in this 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 board member for the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at debbielundberg.com.

 

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