Remote Work Etiquette

Remote work environments may be very different from the normal, BGSU on-campus work environment. Thus, it is very important to keep the below remote work etiquette best practices in mind when working remotely.

Scheduling


  • Post your regular work hours in your Outlook calendar.
  • Block your time in your Outlook calendar when you will be out of the office or have scheduled meetings and appointments.
    • Use Outlook's Show As feature to mark yourself as Busy for meetings or Out of Office for vacation, sick and personal time off.
  • Use Out of Office automatic email replies when out of the office.

Online Meetings


  • When scheduling any meeting, include a link to the online meeting (Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) so that coworkers always have the option to participate remotely if necessary. 
  • When sharing documents during the meeting, plan ahead and send files to coworkers who will participate remotely, or set up a virtual collaboration room in Zoom or a Microsoft Teams chat or channel. You could also share your screen to show documents.
  • If there are more than two or three people in the physical meeting, make a habit of saying your name when you speak to help avoid confusion about who is talking. Encourage meeting participants to do the same. 
  • Encourage participation from remote employees. Team members sitting in on the other end of the conference have no way of signaling to the group that they want to speak. 
  • Manage engagement. When possible, have remote workers lead a portion of the call so that they have an active role.
  • If there are several remote workers on the line, ask them to mute their phone lines at the beginning of the call to minimize background noise. 
  • The webcam should be used for all meetings except for large group meetings.
  • The quality of the webcam and audio should be acceptable. When using a laptop webcam, be mindful of the angle.
  • Avoid having additional people/noises in the room to minimize distractions for attendees.
  • Mute your microphone during periods where you are just listening to a meeting.

Conference Call Etiquette


  • When participating in meetings, find a quiet space and join the meeting from somewhere without loud background noise. When not speaking, remember to mute your mic to minimize background noise.
  • If some team members are physically in the room, make sure they speak loudly enough so people on the conference line are able to hear clearly.
  • Be an active listener on conference calls by verbally acknowledging that you are listening, by using short statements to paraphrase the main takeaways, and asking for permission to ask questions. Regularly give and receive feedback. When giving feedback to your colleagues, ensure it is specific, constructive, and empathetic. Use your feedback to discuss outcomes and actions.
  • Be fully engaged and give the remote meeting your full attention. Avoid multitasking or reading emails.
  • If you have something to contribute or missed something that someone said, be sure to jump in rather than waiting to be asked as meeting facilitators cannot read your body language and may not recognize the need to pause and invite your participation.
  • If participating in a meeting via webcam, be presentable. Remember, getting dressed for work will help you get in a mindset for work.
  • Explore various department-approved technology options to facilitate seamless communication with your team (e.g., Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Jabber, Cisco Telepresence, etc.).

Communication


Although managers are ultimately responsible for the efficient and effective function of the workgroup, remote workers must help manage the group's expectations and their own communication in order to avoid any negative impact on the morale or productivity of non-teleworkers. Issues that should be addressed include:

  • Backup: Even with very portable work, there are inevitably instances where physical presence is required and a coworker needs to step in. Coworker backup should be planned. It should also not be burdensome and should be reciprocal. Resulting cross-training has broad organizational benefits.
  • On-the-spot assistance: Remote workers may occasionally need someone who is physically in the main office to assist them, for instance, to fax or scan a document to them, or to look up information. Again, these arrangements should not be unexpected or burdensome, and they should be reciprocal; a "buddy system" between remote and onsite workers may be the least disruptive solution.
  • Keep your manager and coworkers informed of your remote work schedule, how to reach you, how to handle telephone calls or other communications that need to go to you, and how clients are to be handled.
  • Keep your calendar updated and share it with your team members.
  • Be available via Microsoft Teams or Cisco Jabber during your workday as a means for quick questions and answers. Despite the informal nature of IM, always begin with a greeting, and remain courteous and professional.
  • When unable to engage in a chat due to being in a meeting, etc., if possible, attempt to reply as to when you’ll be available.
  • Ensure your contact information is current in the campus directory. Use this page for assistance updating your information.
  • Use email effectively. Use the subject line to alert the reader to the topic, the urgency level, and the required action.
  • Be available and responsive to your team members.
  • Agree to communication guidelines to establish a common expectation for responding to queries and emails.
  • Be mindful of different time zones and working times. Respect free and busy times, even if you are working when others are not.
  • Choose the most effective communication channel based on the context. For a complex or potentially difficult conversation, have it in person or using a webcam.
  • Decide as a group how to make use of approved technologies to facilitate seamless communication with remote workers (e.g., Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Jabber, etc.).