It’s been more than two years since majority of our offices transitioned to remote environments, can you believe it? How does it simultaneously feel like we’re still in 2020 but also, 2022 is moving so FAST? Since we now have two years of remote work teams, we figured we would take a moment to reflect on how business practices have evolved and share what we have learned to be best practices!
Video blurred the lines between work life and home life, allowing operations to continue as clients had to rely on video for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retaining talent. But, there was still the need to connect with teams on strategy, initiatives, project management, and overall engagement. While these topics could quickly be discussed in passing in an office setting, the time now had to be scheduled, allowing “relaxed” business etiquette to creep in and resulting in virtual fatigue for many.
This virtual world has made it challenging for consultants to network and discover new opportunities. It limits their ability to see the true work environment/culture of a company and has made communication styles difficult to view from the candidate/hiring side.
Dogs, kids, and messes! Oh MY! The age of WFH is most certainly a blend of our home and work lives, making it difficult to maintain professionalism when speaking with team members, potential, and current clients and candidates. Below are simple tips and tricks to keep that work and life boundary intact:
- Mute your microphone when necessary
- If you remain unmuted, your everyday noises may be completely disruptive. We’re talking shuffling of clothing, clearing of the throat, dogs barking, YOU NAME IT, etc. Your mic picks up much more than you think!
- Wear meeting appropriate clothes – at least from the waist up!
- Keep your surroundings suitable and clean
- Try looking at the camera, to simulate ‘eye contact’
- Stabilize your device – shaky camera movements will take the focus and may cause dizziness in your audience.
- Select a professional background or picture
- Don’t position your camera too low, or too high
- Don’t try to multitask during meetings, stay focused.
- Don’t sneak out! (And if you do, turn of your camera, or send a quick chat that you will “be right back.”)
- Don’t mumble, but don’t shout
- Don’t interrupt others
Set Your Space Up for Success
Impressions are everything! Especially the first ones. By now, we know that working from home presents unique challenges and culture shock – especially to those who have worked in offices for many years! We covered this topic in Elaine Priesman’s Feature Friday blog.
Equipment and Lighting
- Make sure your internet connection, camera, and microphone are all set up and functioning properly. Try to troubleshoot before any meetings
- Frame your face! Set your camera as close to eye-level as possible
- Assess your lighting: Make use of natural light and overhead lighting
- Backlighting can cause shadows and make it difficult for others to see you
- Check your camera angle prior to meetings to catch any up-the-nose situations or the most dreaded: double-chin angles
- Connect your computer to your ethernet cable so you can have the best internet connection possible. If you cannot be hard-wired, make sure you have adequate bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network
- If you must use your Wi-Fi network, forewarn those living with you that you will need the bandwidth for a certain amount of time, so they can limit their use
Privacy and Background
- If you cannot find a private space, use headphones to reduce background noise
- If you have others in your home that are working from home or virtual learning, let them know you’ll be on a call to reduce interruptions
- If possible, close the door to the room you are in. Bonus – lock the door if you have little ones who like to run in and out, especially during meeting times!
- Clean up your background!
- Tip: Too messy, and too little time? Try using a blurred or virtual background
- Tempting though it may be to use the fun backgrounds, try to choose less distracting ones
In many parts of the country, people are back in their offices and more likely to want to meet in-person if distance allows. Keep in mind that not everyone will feel comfortable with this option and may prefer to continue connecting remotely. Below are simple tips and tricks to ensure that expectations and options are available when the situation arises:
- Establish clear guidelines regarding any mask or vaccine requirements
- Offer alternatives and/or accommodations to those who may not be ready for face-to-face interaction due to different health needs
- Do not make the person feel badly or question their choices – remember, we all have options and must do what is best for ourselves
- Be intentional about your communication, whether in person, via phone, through video conferencing, or email
- As we have experienced the pandemic for the past two plus years, there is now a greater focus on mental health. Be sensitive to the challenges we have faced and don’t forget to check in on your coworkers, clients, candidates, and YOURSELF. It matters!
The key to achieving success in the current workplace is being flexible, adaptable, and putting people (including yourself) first. As we navigate the ever-changing workplace dynamics, it may take trial and error to determine what is acceptable and valued within your teams. For more tips on this topic watch our webinar: Business Etiquette in the New Video, Virtual World