With businesses, shops and transport facilities opening up with Unlock 1.0, work-from home will still continue to play a major role in our lives for not only the time being but also in the foreseeable future. And, courtesy to the latest video-conferencing apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and of course, emails and various chat forums work-from-home hasn’t only become easy but has also proved to be very efficient. Digital technology has made workers more accessible.
A recent research by Harvard business school shows that Companies that let their workers decide where and when to do their jobs increase employee productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs. The research also found that employees with liberal 'work from home' arrangements were 4.4 percent more productive than those following a more traditional 'work-from-home' policy that gives schedule flexibility but requires workers to live near the office. (How Companies Benefit When Employees Work Remotely 2019)
Work-from-home has also proved to be highly flexible in matters of time and space and has led to the “Uber-ization of work force,” as said by Raúl Castanon-Martinez, a senior analyst based in Boston. Remote working, which is another phrase for 'work-from-home' might have its own comforts and benefits but these benefits come with some basic ground rules that everyone should follow, be it during a video conference or while writing an email.
Here are a few basic etiquette that you should follow while working from home which improves your communication skills with your co- workers as well as the boss
1. Voice Tonality
Since everything is on audio-visual mode these days, it is important to incorporate voice modulations in your speech so as to create maximum impact while you speak. Your emphasis on the tone emits certain emotions while you communicate. When you are on phone the pitch of your voice decides how your co-workers and clients perceive you. Speaking in a high-pitched voice might make you look less empathetic while speaking in a low pitch might make you seem less confident and ill-prepared. So try to sound relaxed and pair it with the optimal vocal pitch that you use during any conversation taking place.
Remember to lay emphasis on the key words of your speech while talking and take pauses at the right places to create a more lasting impression in the minds of your listeners. Ultimately, these impressions will connect emotionally with the person you speak and make an impact. Set your own personal mantra when it comes to tuning your voice in a professional environment.
2. Body language
Eye contact is everything. Not only in day-to-day conversations, but it also forms a major part of any video conference and can create a lasting impression on the attendees. Lower eye contact can make you seem like a poor listener and less confident of yourself whereas too much eye contact can make the attendees feel uncomfortable. Try maintaining steady eye contact by looking directly at the webcam while speaking. Along with it, maintain a moderate facial expression.
Avoid frowning or sneering as these aggressive facial expressions might be off-putting and discouraging to the attendees. Also, be wary of your arm movements; uncross your arms as it gives an impression that you are reserved. With an amiable expression, it is important to maintain a complementary posture, i.e., square your shoulders keeping your head straight, this makes you look attentive. A good posture makes you look energetic and enthusiastic whereas hunching minimizes your appearance to appear less confident. By sitting up straight, you’ll not only look taller, but your voice will project better while speaking.
3. Maintain Dress code
Dressing up for work is a part of everyone’s daily routine and now that life has stopped existing, it is necessary that you go an extra mile and decide to make yourself look presentable instead of just donning on your sweatpants for the zoom calls. A simple white formal shirt for a business conference or an important client meet and you can use colors like blue, black or grey to look classy and simple. Dress a step higher by adorning a blazer with it. And of course, dressing up for work also has psychological effects. It puts you in a frame of mind where you are ready to work and feel more motivated and productive.
You feel more confident about yourself. In order to save time keep a few set of clothes aside only for the zoom calls. To look all- business on top and in front of camera, add framed glasses as it gives a more serious appearance or a pen in the pocket to portray the importance of presentation even during virtual meetings.
4. Grooming On Point
Now grooming is as necessary a step as dressing up in order to present your best self. Make sure your hair is neat and your appearance doesn’t make it obvious that you have just gotten out of bed. A shower is always a great way to ensure you look fresh and clean for a video conference. Make sure to get rid of any unnecessary facial hair and to trim your beard regularly. It helps you look more convincing and professional.
Try to avoid oiling your hair as it makes your hair look unclean and that is a big no-no for any work environment. You need not use a styling gel or excessive products to make your hair, instead brush it well and keep it presentable. Stick to simple hairstyles which are a slicked back, a pompadour or a crew cut if you are trying to experiment as it does not get in the way of your video call. Make sure your appearance sends the right message to your audience.
5. Follow A Set of Rules
An important point to remember is to stay off of social media while working. It is not polite to use your phone to check your social media in the midst of a work-related meeting. Try limiting your social media posting during work hours as much as possible. Sticking to your regular office hours makes it easy for people you work with to contact you as they know that you will be available at the scheduled time. However, it is not necessary to stay glued to your computer screen for 8-12 straight hours a day either. A nice little walk is fine as long as you inform the person you are accountable to about it.
Make sure to keep your phone ringtone on and attend work calls as soon as possible. Promptness is appreciated at workspace, even a virtual one. Check your emails as frequently as possible and make it a point to inform your team if you are going to be unavailable for a certain amount of time well in advance. While chatting online with your team, don’t stray from the problem or agenda at hand and during a video conference, mute your mic when you are not speaking so that the speaker doesn’t get distracted or demotivated by any background noise.
Now with the help of these pointers, you can always present your best self to your clients and colleagues. These will not only help new applicants get adjusted to their work environment but will also help older employees brush up on their etiquette skills and prepare them for the new age of technology that is slowly dawning upon all of us. To develop yourself better with a grooming routine or a productive wardrobe and sharpen your work etiquette, connect with Enzo League.
Keep up your professional aura even in a virtual space with these pointers from the above. Now whether you are skyping with your superior or writing an email to your co- worker, these few pointers are applicable across virtual as well as physical work spaces and by implementing these, you will soon find out that by following these few simple rules, you’ll soon be on the ladder to success.