Remote work is an offering that has become more and more available to employees. However, due to this rather unprecedented time, many people in the workforce are finding themselves working from home for the first time. From the mental and emotional challenges we face, to the functionality of our new work environment, there can be quite a learning curve. For those that are lucky enough to have the ability to work remotely, you might be finding it’s still business as usual as far as what needs to be done. Read on for tips on what you can do to remain a positive representation of your company, even while you’re remote.
Make a Schedule
Even if you’re not used to having to plan out your days, drafting a schedule each morning for the rest of your day will help to keep things on track. This could be especially important for those that are finding themselves balancing out a workload and any care taking. If you know you will need to set aside some time for home-schooling help, making your kids/family lunch, or anything else, carve that into your day. This way when you need to plan calls, projects, or video conferences, you can avoid overbooking yourself during this already stressful time. The schedule will also help you keep track of your actionable items. If your employer already gives you access to some kind of calendar, you can use that to draft your schedule. If not, try checking out calendar apps that could best fit your needs. Even though working from home can seem more casual, you still want to maintain your professional habits. This means promptness when meetings occur over the phone or a video platform. If a client is expecting a call at a certain time, you’ll want to be sure you dial in in a timely manner. This is certainly not the time to lose a client’s trust or cause any damage to the relationship.
Get a Jump On the Day
It can be hard to get started when your routine is so different. Not having to go into work is a big change. Kids not having to go to school is a big change. In order to give yourself some semblance of normalcy, come up with a new, at-home version of your routine. Get up, get dressed, make breakfast, and write out your schedule for the day. While a perk of being at home is certainly getting to wear comfortable clothes, it’s helpful to your motivation to go through the motions of “getting ready.” Even though you’re in the comfort of your own home, it’s important to change your clothes considering the impact clothing has on your mindset. Getting dressed in the morning puts you in a more productive mindset and has you ready at a moment’s notice if you have to hop onto a video call.
As a representative of your company, you’ll want to still look professional as the rise in video calls has increased as a means of communication for businesses. Home comfort and looking professional do not have to be mutually exclusive. No one will see your legs on a video call, so work pants and dress shoes aren’t necessary. However, putting on a nice, clean shirt and keeping a blazer or cardigan nearby will have you ready to positively represent your company. If you’re looking to incorporate more comfortable professional styles to your wardrobe, consider shopping thrifted clothing. With money being a big topic on everyone’s mind right now, this will allow you to get a sharp work look without worrying about going over your budget.
A New Etiquette
Client calls or in-person meetings had their own set of rules and etiquette each business followed to put their best foot forward as professionals. With video conferencing sweeping through businesses to adapt, representing your company goes beyond looking the part and being prepared with whatever materials you’d need for the meeting. Even though you might be new to the process, you’ll need to keep a couple of things in mind to pull off a top-notch video call. Be mindful of your lighting. You’ll want to be sure you are well-lit and the clients will be able to see you ok. However, look behind you. If you have in-ceiling lighting try to avoid pointing your laptop so that the lighting is right behind your head or causing any glares. Moreover, be sure whatever is behind you is tidy and/or not distracting. You want to be the main focus of the call–not your environment– so be sure whatever is visible won’t hinder your conversation or the impression you’re leaving on the client as a representative of your company. Additionally, there’s evidence that people still are looking for eye contact and normal body-language cues as they would if the meeting were in person. This means looking into the camera when you’re speaking to give the other person the sense of eye contact.
By doing these things, you’re helping to keep people assured during this time of crisis and uncertainty. While small or trivial, these suggestions can be the difference between being a steady rock your clients can trust and depend on, and sending out small signals of unpreparedness. These things will not only be helpful as you continue to be one face of the company but it will also be helpful to you getting through this time.