The world of work has been irrevocably changed, and we’re unlikely to ever see a return to full-time office life ever again. But with every adaptation comes a new set of challenges, and when you’re moving from office to home during the week, the lines between your personal and working life can become blurred. It’s important to retain the right level of professionalism when you’re working, but that can be hard to do when you’re working from home.
So how do you ensure that your interactions with colleagues and clients are as professional as they would be if you were in the office?
Use the right channels of communication
When you’re in the office, you can pop by someone’s desk or catch them on the way to a meeting to discuss that task or project. But when you’re all working remotely, it’s easy to let the channels of communication fall by the wayside.
Since remote working often means flexible hours and asynchronous communication, ask your colleagues how they’d like to be communicated with, so you can be sure you’re reaching them on channels they’ll check regularly. It ensures that everyone can be reached easily, but that boundaries are in place to avoid feeling like you have to be connected on every platform 24/7.
Building a fairer workplace is the responsibility of everyone involved, but it can be complicated when you’re working as part of a hybrid team. Inclusivity is the key to driving employee performance and making everyone feel valued and part of the team, so you need to be sure that you’re not treating remote employees as lesser than those working in the office.
Rules are important to ensure that everyone is working on a level playing field and to create a fair team environment. So every member of the team needs to be clear on what’s permitted and what isn’t, so there’s not one set of rules for one group and another for everyone else, and has the opportunity to weigh in and offer opinions before decisions are made.
Check in regularly
Make sure that your colleagues know that you’re on hand to answer questions or queries when they need you to, or even that you’re available to discuss a project or brainstorm ideas when a fresh perspective is needed.
It’s easy to feel as though you’re in your own little bubble when you’re working remotely, but you need to be accessible to your team and flexible to their needs just as you would be in the office. Hiding away at home and dodging emails or group messages is unprofessional and your team dynamic can suffer as a result of it. What’s more, it can mean that your colleagues are left doing more work to make up the difference. Make sure that you’re regularly checking in, responding to requests in a timely manner and being the proactive team member that you would be if you were in the office.
Define goals and expectations
Goal setting is essential to successful remote working, since you have the freedom to work when and how you want when you’re not in the office — and that can often mean you veer off track. You need to have structure and goals in place to keep you moving in the right direction and ensure you’re staying productive, for your own purposes and for the benefit of the business. Remote employees can easily lose sight of the bigger picture, so it’s important to have those common objectives and clear expectations in place so that everyone stays engaged.
Goals are also vital to helping employees stay connected. This structure helps reduce the stress caused by a lack of purpose, where people in the team don’t know what they’re supposed to be working on. Everyone knows what they’re doing on any given day, and they can feel more engaged in the process.
Hybrid working has been adopted by businesses in many industries, but there are still teething issues to overcome, as with any new way of working. To really thrive as a hybrid employee and work productively, it’s important to stay professional and remember that location aside, you still need to maintain the same standards as you did pre-remote working.