Office Etiquette to be followed when Working from Home
Some office etiquette to be followed when working from home:
1. Home office is not 24/7:
Just be cause you work from home and possibly spend 24 hours in your home, neither you nor your employer should assume that you are on duty 24 hours. Working hours should be followed and respected Agree on what your office hours should be in advance with your supervisor. Sending Email/WhatsApp/other types of work-related messages which require staff response and action outside office hours may be considered online bullying in the WFH world.
2. Be mindful of the global nature of the workforce:
In most international organizations, your team may be work- ing from around the world. It will not be possible for everybody to align into a single working-hour routine. Agree in advance on the hours where you will to synchronise and establish a common set of team working hours . Respect these hours in setting up collective/bilateral meetings and calls.
3. Email is your proof of life:
When you work remotely, your presence is mainly indicated by your email. Ensure that every email you receive on a working day is attended to within 24 hours or less. If you do not have an answer to the specific issue raised, you are encouraged to still respond, stating when the sender can expect a more substantial reply.
4. Your calendar should be up-to-date:
Your team members will depend on your calendar to organize meetings. You may, however, have personal or professional engagements which are set outside your office calendar. Please ensure that all your engagements, both professional and personal, are blocked off in your calendar .
5. Be kind on bandwidth:
As millions of peopled moved online for work, hundreds of millions of students have also moved online for learning. It will take months before Internet service providers can ramp up their networks to provide high-speed connections for all. So be considerate to others and use video calls only when absolutely essential.
6. Have efficient meetings:
Online meetings have become the main vehicle to continue business. The staff members are expected to attend multiple meetings, for extended periods of time. While setting up meetings, ensure that: (a) a meeting is really needed to discuss the matter (b) all participants invited to the meeting are absolutely essential, and (c) sufficient groundwork is done in advance that no meeting is more than 60 minutes.
7. Meetings are tiring:
Multilateral online meetings are very tiring compared to face-to-face meetings and telephone calls. It is, therefore, important that the number of online meetings which the individuals have per day should be limited. The numbers will depend on whether you are in a senior management position (50% of your time meeting typically) or project technical/implementation positions (10- 40 % of the time). For both profiles, the objective should be to limit the number and duration of the meetings. Many organizations are starting to propose “No Meeting Wednesdays”, to break the tyranny of meetings and give people time to focus on other work that needs attention.
8. Don’t mix business and home work:
While you are working from home, some degree of overlap with your household chores is inevitable. However, one should ensure that the majority of the time for working hours is devoted to office work. If you are taking more than one 2 hours off from work during your working hours, you should inform your supervisor and mark busy on your calendar. Personnel who have dependents in their care home may require more flexibility within the working hours, however, personnel are encouraged to discuss with their supervisor and agree on a core working schedule
9. Don’t get too casual:
While it may not be appropriate to dress up with full formal suits or office attires in a WFH situation, getting too casual is also not appropriate. On the one hand, it may affect your productivity, while on the other hand, if you are on video, you will appear unprofessional. Inadequate dressing, improper language, inappropriate backgrounds while on video calls reflects unprofessionalism, and in some cases, could expose you to accusations of online work harassment.
10. Take time to socialize and have sufficient down time:
While it is important to keep the office environment professional, it is also important to remember that you used to meet friends during coffee/tea and lunch breaks when working in the office. Such informal personal contacts continue to be important. They will help keep your mental/emotional balance and maintain your productivity. Ensure that you have regular breaks from your work routine and have bilateral chats with your colleagues and/or friends, either individually or collectively. It is also important to give yourself sufficient off-screen, socializing time (with family, friends, etc.) as well as regular exercise and fresh air, as much as possible and made feasible within quarantine safety conditions.
Muralee Thummarukudy, Operations Manager,
United Nations Environment Programme, Geneva, Switzerland
Neeraja Janaki, Career Mentor, Ernakulam, Kerala
- I am Shivanga Kumar Gogoi, owner of the Multigyan.com website. I am a B.Tech degree holder and 21yrs old young entrepreneur from the City of Jorhat, Asam. By profession, I'm an instrumentation engineer, web designer, google webmaster and SEO optimizer. I have deep knowledge of Google AdSense and I am interested in Blogging.
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