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While studies have shown that remote work has been a boon to society as a happy, healthy, productive option for many people, there are also a few pitfalls that can be a bust for your credibility, productivity, and reputation.
Here are six things that your co-workers won’t tell you when you work remotely that you should absolutely know:
1) Don’t brag about working in your pajamas.
The stereotype of people working from home in their PJs may have some validity to it, but it doesn’t mean that it should be a point of pride. Nowadays, where video, from scheduled meetings to unplanned chats, are the norm, you should dress and groom just as you would if you were physically going into an office. Dressing the part also helps you get your all-pro game on, too.
2) An unpredictable schedule makes you seem unreliable and unprofessional.
Flexibility is a key benefit of working outside of the office, but when you don’t clearly communicate your schedule and fail to keep in touch consistently with co-workers and/or clients, it stretches the bounds of what works for a collaborative environment – and what doesn’t. With a team-messaging platform, you can indicate when you’re not available, and you can also easily rejoin a chat when you’re back online. Keep regular, predictable hours that are as in sync with your team members as possible for a smooth virtual working relationship.
3) Your household “co-workers” (pets, kids) are loud and disruptive.
The open door policy that allows children, spouses, roommates and pets to pop in whenever they want to also shuts the door on your ability to look and act professional. Occasional interruptions certainly happen – even a world-renowned expert fell prey to the foibles of an unlocked door and a busy family on live BBC TV – but that should be the exception, not the rule.
4) A messy home office tarnishes your reputation.
Video meetings and chats show not only what you look like on a given day, but also where you are working from. While one of the benefits of remote work includes being able to do your job in various settings, from your living room to a coffee shop, it’s best to conduct your regular business — particularly when it involves being seen on video — in a clean, organized, quiet, professional setting.
5) A disorganized digital workspace complicates collaboration.
Not only should your physical environment be organized, but your virtual workspace should be well thought out and ordered as well. You can streamline your communications and make it easy and intuitive to share important documents and information with co-workers, colleagues and/or clients with a platform that includes chat, file sharing, calendar, task management and other project and productivity tools. The easier and more accessible you and your work are, the better it is for everyone on your remote team. And if you’re going to share your screen, take a minute to tidy up your desktop.
6) Weak Wifi and tech glitches shut down productivity.
Remote work is all virtual, which makes it imperative that you have a strong and consistent wifi connection, a computer in good working order and non-glitching software. Unless you’re a technology whiz, make sure you have IT people you can call when your system goes down, so you don’t leave your team members in the lurch.
Don’t let others speculate whether or not you’re working remotely or only remotely working. Make the effort to present professionally, and you’ll enjoy the benefit of busting at-home work myths.