Today’s shifting, telecommuting, digital workforce has changed a lot from the days of handshakes and thank-you notes, but the classic rules of business etiquette still matter—especially for telecommuters.
Flex work isn’t just the future of work; it’s the way we work today. In a 2014 PGi survey on telecommuting, 80 percent of workers say they already have the option to telecommute.
However, telecommuters are still up against flex work myths and stigmas, which means you need to work hard at making your presence and productivity known. Your ability to efficiently work from home will also be one of the key assets interviewers want, so cultivating excellent reviews from colleagues will help you manage your personal brand and professional reputation.
To successfully accomplish these objectives, you need updated business etiquette to navigate the modern workday of ongoing synchronous and asynchronous communication. Here are five rules of new business etiquette for the flexible work world so you’re never the “unproductive teleworker nowhere to be found”:
- Don’t stop communicating with the boss. The missing remote worker is an employer’s worst nightmare. If your boss doesn’t know what you’re doing, they’ll assume what you’re doing (like cleaning, cooking, or binge watching TV) whether you’re really MIA or actively at work. Use emails, conference calls, and online meetings to tell them what you’ve done, discuss problems, offer solutions, present ideas, and fill them in on the state of projects. Never assume your virtual manager will track your work for you.
- Keep communicating with colleagues. To really be a team player, your team needs to see and hear from you, too. Whether you’re instant messaging or video conferencing, take the time to learn about them, recognize their efforts, and thank them to establish good working relationships. Constant, instant feedback is especially important if you’re working on projects together.
- Be professional in online meetings. Pay attention, be on time, don’t multitask, engage with questions, and get to know the attendees on the line. Dress professionally and save the snacks for later.
- Ssshh… keep the noise down. If you’re allowed to work from anywhere (instead of a dedicated home office), learn to master your mute button. Busy airports, coffeehouse chatter, and playful dogs will ruin calls and meetings for everyone.
- Respect geographical differences. Before you schedule a meeting or send an urgent email, check the time zones of the recipients. No one wants to check their inbox in the evening or attend a 6 a.m. meeting.
Communication and collaboration are now business-critical objectives for companies that value time management and teamwork, and besides, keeping the dialogue going helps you beat the isolation of telecommuting by making your workday more meaningful and interesting.
Business etiquette is no longer about being prim and proper—it’s about being productive and proactive, and despite the hiccups that can occur, you can take advantage of stellar communication and professionalism to really make yourself stand out.
To really be the successful telecommuter that employers want, you’ll also need to improve your etiquette for conference calls, email, video conferencing and social media. Download the full, free eBook, “The Modern Worker’s Etiquette Handbook,” today from PGi to perfect your telecommuting etiquette.
To learn more about how PGi supports work flexibility, join 1MFWF on October 30 from 1pm-2pm eastern for our webinar Employers Who Embrace Flexibility (and Are Hiring!) featuring panelists from flexible employers PGi, Appen, Convergys, and FlexJobs.
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