Working From Home For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon
The secret is out: Working from home can be a sustainable, successful option for professionals in today’s global economy. As you jump into working from home, be sure to follow a few pieces of important advice, as well as some virtual meeting etiquette.

working from home © LightField Studios/

Advice to Consider Before You Work at Home

If you’re considering working from home, take into account several important considerations. Many of them require a shift in your mindset and habits, a focus on emotional and social intelligence, and strong communication skills. Be mindful about these areas if you truly want to have success in working from home:

  • Having the right environment: Ensuring you have the right work environment if you’re planning on working from home is extremely important. If your workspace isn’t set up for you to be successful, you’ll quickly become frustrated and potentially disconnected from your team.
  • Maintaining balance and focus: Working virtually takes a heavy dose of discipline and organization to balance work with the constant demands of life happening all around you when you’re working from home. If you struggle with self-discipline, working virtually may be an area of difficulty for you, so make sure you set up clear guidelines and expectations for yourself ahead of time.
  • Building community: When working from home, be prepared to build a sense of community by connecting with your team members and your manager regularly, both for work and to get to know each other personally. If working side-by-side with your coworkers in person is extremely fulfilling for you, then consider that working remotely 100 percent of the time may not be the best idea for you. You may want to consider a part-time telecommuting arrangement or perhaps a flex job where you work remotely a few days a week and a part-time job in an office a few days per week.
  • Connecting using collaborative technology: When you work from home, you generally lose face-to-face, in-person interaction, and people working remotely have different levels of comfort and acceptance using collaborative technology such as Zoom to personally connect. Many companies don’t require virtual teams to turn on video when communicating or having a meeting, which is a mistake. If you desire to work virtually, it’s up to you to build relationships and trust, which you rarely can achieve over the phone or via text. Turning on your camera so you can connect personally with your team members is an important part of building connection.
  • Appreciating team culture: Your virtual team can include people from other towns in your city, your country, or the world. Maybe your team members don’t have English as their first language, or maybe their culture and way of life is completely foreign to you. Make sure you consider who is going to be on your team and ideally meet team members as part of the interviewing process.
  • Practicing emotional intelligence: Working from home requires a willingness to go the extra mile to develop strong team relationships by being emotionally aware and tuned in to what’s happening with other team members. The key to emotional intelligence is recognizing what you and other team members are feeling and then knowing what to do to manage those emotions or reactions. Doing so requires attention, savviness, and vulnerability.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette: Minding Your Meeting Manners Even When You Work from Home

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you can slack on professionalism. You can easily fall into a too-casual trap when your commute is a short walk from your kitchen to your home office. Keep these videoconference etiquette tips in mind as you work from home:

  • Beware of your background. Your coworkers won’t take you seriously if you have a pile of dirty clothes or an unmade bed in the corner behind you. Make sure your background is professional, free of distractions, and work appropriate. Pay attention to the lighting, too.
  • Make sure you’re screen ready. One of the best things about working remotely is the freedom to wear anything to work. However, when you’re in a virtual video meeting, your coworkers don’t need to see your sweats and bedhead. Put on a clean shirt, brush your hair, and set up your webcam at eye level.
  • Minimize distractions. Video meetings have enough background noise, so don’t add to it. Make sure you’re in a quiet room; turn off music, cell phones, and TVs; relocate pets; and ensure that the kiddos are settled somewhere. Also, minimize use of your keyboard — the sound is distracting.
  • Speak clearly, concisely, and slowly, and don’t interrupt. Videoconferencing technology has improved greatly, but speaking clearly, concisely, and slowly is still smart. If you have a decent mic, you don’t need to yell. Your normal speaking volume should be fine.
  • Make eye contact. During your video call, your screen probably has the presentation open, a window in which you can type comments, and multiple video screens with your colleagues’ faces. When it’s your turn to speak, be sure to look into your camera, not at the multiple distractions on your computer screen. It takes a while to grasp this, but it looks more natural and connects to people much more effectively.
  • Don’t eat. Even if the meeting falls during your normal mealtime, don’t eat during your video call. Just because people can’t smell it doesn’t mean they can’t hear or see you chewing. No one wants to see you stuff your face while discussing important business matters.
  • Don’t multitask. According to a survey by Raindance Communications, 70 percent of people do unrelated work, 50 percent read or send emails, and 36 percent mute the call to talk to someone else while on a video call. All of these behaviors are no-no’s. Give the meeting your full attention. It’s more productive and more respectful.
  • Keep the mute button handy. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing that alien echo noise or high-pitch screech from conflicting microphones. If you’re working in a noisy cafe, an airport, or anywhere that has a lot of background noise, make sure to keep your mic muted when you’re not speaking. It gives everyone else the ability to chime in without distraction.
  • Be patient. If someone doesn’t respond immediately, give him a few seconds. The slow response may be an audio delay or people may be desperately trying to unmute themselves.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

A 20-year talent development professional,Tara Powers is an international best-selling author, award-winning leadership expert, and sought-after keynote speaker. She's worked with more than 200 companies and 15,000 leaders worldwide, building and launching talent initiatives that deliver high touch and high impact for her clients.

This article can be found in the category: