“Good manners reflect something from inside – an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.” -Emily Post
Emily Post probably wasn’t thinking about teleworking when she said this, but it still holds true.
Whether you’re new to teleworking or been doing it for some time, it’s always good to think through telework etiquette. We’ve compiled a list of top telecommuting manners you should consider, all thanks to telework.gov.
Telework Meeting Manners
When scheduling any meeting, set up a conference line so that coworkers always have the option to participate remotely if necessary.
When sharing documents during the meeting, plan ahead and send files to any coworkers who will be participating remotely, or setup a virtual collaboration room, using agency approved technology; such as Adobe Connect, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.
If there are more than 2 or 3 people in the physical meeting, make it a habit of stating your name when you speak to help avoid confusion about who is talking. Encourage meeting participants to do the same.
Encourage participation from remote participants. Team members sitting in on the other end of the phone line have no way of signaling to the group that they want to speak.
Manage engagement. When possible, have remote workers lead a portion of the call so that they have an active role.
If there are several remote workers on the line, take time at the beginning of the call to ask them to mute their phone lines when they are not talking in order to minimize background noise.
Conference Call Manners
When participating in meetings, find a quiet space and join the meeting from somewhere free of loud background noise.
When not speaking, remember to mute your phone to minimize background noise.
Be an active listener on conference calls by verbally acknowledging that you are listening, by using short statements to paraphrase the main takeaways, and asking for permission to ask questions.
Regularly give and receive feedback. When giving feedback to your colleagues, ensure it is specific, constructive and empathetic. Use your feedback to discuss outcomes and actions.
Be fully engaged and give the remote meeting your full attention.
Avoid multi-tasking or reading emails.
If you have something to contribute or missed something that someone said, be sure to jump in rather than waiting to be asked as meeting facilitators cannot read your body language and may not recognize the need to pause and invite your participation.
If participating in a meeting via webcam, be presentable. Remember, getting dressed for work will help you get in a mindset for work.
Keep your calendar up to date to avoid confusion and breakdown in communication.
Manners and Ways to Stay Connected
Let colleagues, managers, and customers know where and when you are working. It is important that others know how to reach you, and when you are available for meetings.
Share your calendar with your team members.
Use email effectively. Use the subject line to alert the reader to the topic, the level of urgency, and the required action.
Stay connected to your workplace and team members by being available and responsive (e.g., answer calls and respond to emails promptly).
Agree to communication guidelines with your manager and team members to establish a common expectation for responding to queries and emails.
Decide with your manager and team whether it would be helpful to designate core hours or days when team members are in the office or available for meetings and conference calls.
Just Good Things To Do
Maintain relationships with team members and managers.
Respect free and busy times, even if you are working when others are not.
Choose the most effective communication channels based on the context. For a complex or potentially difficult conversation, have it in person or using a webcam.
Establish communication guidelines with your manager and team to establish a common expectation for responding to queries and emails.
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