Virtual Office and Email Etiquette IT Professionals Must Adhere To During the Global Pandemic and Beyond
With the global pandemic having pushed most IT professionals into the remote working mode, it is time to get acquainted with some virtual office behavior etiquette. These tips on remote work etiquette and email etiquette can help IT professionals manage their activities better while working from home.
Video Conferences/Meetings Etiquette
- Make sure a meeting link is included while scheduling a meeting to provide others with the option to participate, if needed.
- Always send files in advance to participants if there are any documents to be shared during a virtual meeting. The same may also be shared on the screen during meetings.
- Always mention your name while speaking in a virtual meeting with multiple participants to avoid confusion. Others must also be asked to follow this rule.
- Provide equal participation opportunities to all members of the group. Make sure everyone contributes with their suggestions and ideas in the virtual meeting.
- Muting phones of all participants before a meeting is a must to minimize disturbances and avoid interruptions.
- Check the quality of the webcam and the audio output to avoid any technical snags that may come in way of smooth conduction of a virtual meeting.
- Choose the right video angles for the best view.
- Take steps to prevent the presence of unwanted people in the room and unsolicited intrusions.
- The background should appear professional at all times.
- If you are only listening in a virtual meeting, make sure your mic is in mute mode.
Conference Call Etiquette
- Find a quiet space to participate in a conference call to minimize background disturbances.
- Speak clearly and coherently so that all participants can listen properly.
- Seek permission before interrupting or if you have any questions.
- Find a way of verbally acknowledging others to indicate that you are listening while your colleagues/managers are speaking.
- Offer short, specific, and to-the-point feedback when needed.
- The core points must be paraphrased in short, meaningful statements.
- Show that you are fully focused and engaged. Do not read emails, do not try to catch up with phone messages and notifications, or carry out any other tasks that are not associated with the meeting.
- Missed something? Want to contribute to the point being discussed currently? Interrupt politely and present your views. In a virtual meeting, others can’t notice that you want to jump in to speak.
- Focus on your appearance. You should dress for work as if you are in the office even for a webcam meeting. This is important to get into the right mindset.
There are multiple virtual communication tools available to conduct online meetings and conferences with your team. By choosing the best one that best serves the needs of your organization, you can ensure that your IT professionals are on the same page and updated about every development regularly.
However, even with the most advanced and reliable communication technologies, there could be gaps and glitches which have to be tackled quickly. You need to plan for this too. Also, you may need assistance from the office in the form of access to specific files and documents. Seek help from someone familiar with the filing system to help you find those documents when needed.
Confused about signing an email in the right manner during remote working? You are not alone. Here is a set of email communication guidelines proposed by virtual communication experts specifically for IT professionals.
Establish and share clear communication guidelines for writing and responding to emails.
While replying or seeking an answer, make sure you take into account the different time zones and working times.
Emails replies must be based on the level of relationship with the person you are writing to. If you have a cordial connection, it is okay to have a personal kind of interaction in the opening note. If the relationship is formal, begin with a health inquiry taking into account the pandemic time we all live in. At the same time, keep the personal level interaction short and crisp and get to the core part of the message quickly.
We often think that we are unlikely to make any errors in a communication medium such as an email which generally involves short messages. Still, it is better to proofread every email you send out. Spell-checks can fail as well. You will be judged badly if your email has any mistakes.
Here are some additional tips to keep yourself organized while working from home.
Plan Your Work Schedule
- Use Google or the Calendar that you use to mark your working hours and share them with your team.
- On off-days, make sure the time is blocked on the Calendar.
- Change the visibility setting to ‘public’ when you have other activities to attend to so that others will know you are not in office.
- Activate ‘Out of Office’ replies for emails when not in your seat.
- Inform your managers, colleagues, and others how to contact you if necessary. They must also be told how to handle calls meant for you from clients and partners.
- Remain accessible at all times using a commonly used messaging system. If you miss a message, make sure you reply at the first available opportunity.