In one of our recent blogs, we spoke about how to use remote communication more efficiently in your workday. In this article, we’ll expand on that topic and talk about how to maintain professionalism when our only modes of contact are through tech.
Honor Office Hours and Respect Boundaries
Widespread remote working has blurred the boundaries between work and home. Many of us have limited private office space and are unable to manage traditional office hours. It’s important to respect these new restrictions. Ask someone about their availability before reaching out with questions and avoid messaging coworkers about work-related items outside of their workday. In addition to being respectful, these practices will also help combat burnout and decreased productivity.
Use Appropriate Technology
Email, phone, video, and instant messaging give us the opportunity to connect with one another in an efficient and convenient manner, and each method has its own advantages and flaws. Understanding these differences is essential for maintaining professionalism when you reach out to coworkers. Consider the goals of your communication. Do you need to ask a quick question or have a lengthy discussion? How many people do you need to contact? Establishing your various needs and restrictions can help you choose the appropriate technology. For example, a typical workplace generally reserves instant messaging for urgent requests and uses email for less time-sensitive communications. A brainstorming session between multiple team members might require a video conference. If some of your coworkers are unable to achieve the required privacy in their at-home workspace, then a group phone call can be an effective alternative to video.
Although we often associate formality with professional behavior, being professional has more to do with respect and competence. The reality of the pandemic is that many of us are working from our kitchens, living rooms, or studio apartments, making a formal appearance in a video call difficult to attain. A change in our standards is necessary as we continue to adjust. Just as it’s important to respect a coworker’s time restraints and other obstacles of remote work, respecting the informality of our individual makeshift offices will help maintain professional interactions with coworkers.
As the pandemic has pushed us into extraordinary circumstances, our expectations of what it means to be professional has changed. Most of our communications are restricted to technology, and many of us are unable to emulate the formality of the office in our homes. Adjusting our standards and ensuring we remain respectful towards one another will not only reflect well on ourselves, but our workplaces as well.