Etiquette for Hybrid Workers The Manila Times

HARD observance of the working day from 9 to 5 is long gone. Broadband connectivity and the latest technology have given us control over how and when we want to work.

But this brave new world comes at a price. Offices are places where we chat and gossip, make friends, form teams, enjoy lunches, and sometimes meet after work. They are also the perfect place for spontaneous meetings, overheard ideas or ad hoc brainstorming sessions. With online communication here for a long time, how should we behave?

Debrett’s, a renowned authority on contemporary etiquette, offers guidance for the age of hybrid work at a time when office etiquette – whether at home or at work – has never been more important. Key findings include:

Give me a royal wave. Ending a video call can sometimes feel a bit awkward, so to soften the abrupt end of tapping End Call, wave goodbye to co-workers.

Avoid video motion sickness. Stay in a fixed position during video calls instead of opening the door or wandering around the office, which can cause your colleagues to get a heavy dose of motion sickness.

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No snacks from meetings. It is advisable to eat before you join the meeting if you don’t want people to focus on the content of your meal rather than what you are saying.

Beware of sabotage traps. It’s all too easy to wander around the house doing household chores or preparing snacks, which can end up distracting you from your current work and affecting your productivity, so keep an eye out for these light distractions.

Eliminate virtual background clutter. You want your colleagues to focus on you, so try to remove cluttered bookshelves, discarded clothes, empty takeout containers, or distracting graphics from your hangout settings.

Say no to stoic syndrome. No one will applaud an employee who shows up to the office fighting a cough, a cold, or something contagious.

Lack of multitasking meetings. During meetings, it is inappropriate to do other things – for example, look at the phone or work while talking on the phone; everyone would understand that your mind is somewhere else.

Mute your workmates. Noise in the office can be distracting when joining a conversation, so it’s okay to politely ask your co-workers to keep their voices down and turn off the radio or music.

Dress for success. People would rather wear more casual and comfortable clothes while working from home, but it’s also important to dress like you’re in the same room as other meeting participants.

Observe long pauses. Don’t be intimidated by long pauses during meetings; it is an invaluable way to give people the opportunity to gather their thoughts to interject or clarify.

Looking ahead, instead of giving everyone the same equipment, organizations need to understand how people like to work and collaborate, and what kind of spaces they use, including setting up their home office. This can be used to tailor the equipment provided, allowing employees to look their best, be heard, feel included and undistracted, no matter where they work.

Debrett’s is partnering with Poly, an important part of HP’s portfolio of hybrid work solutions.

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