July 18, 2022 3 min read


We live in a competitive world that can complicate a job search. Come to think of it, finding a job can be a full-time job itself. So, you’re searching for a new position that will highlight your skillset and shout pick me from the balcony of your apartment or the front step of your parents’ house. Before long, you accept a virtual interview and exceed the interviewer’s expectations. Congratulations, you got the job.

It’s been about five months now, and you still haven’t met your new colleagues in person. Meeting them only through your computer screen is starting to feel odd. If this sounds familiar, you might have questions about the etiquette of working remotely. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you out.

Rule 1: Don’t schedule a meeting for everything

When working remotely, you can’t just walk over to ask someone a question. Instead of making a quick phone call, sending an email, or an instant message, the last option that tends to be thought of first is to schedule a meeting. While meetings are essential to talk through important business matters, meetings take time away from what’s needed for colleagues to complete daily tasks. Be sure to only invite those who need to be present. If an email or instant message will get you the clarification you need, take that route instead.

Rule 2: If You Have Nothing to Say, Press Mute

Are you familiar with the saying “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all?” Well, let’s use that here. If you have nothing to say, then press mute. You can listen to everyone who has something to add on the topic and learn from their views. If you have a question, be sure to ask. The positive to pressing mute is you won’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking, which means the meeting won’t be any longer than it needs to be.

Rule 3: Know your time zones

Time zones can be confusing if you’re not used to working with them. It’s going to be hard to meet deadlines if the big project you’ve been working on is supposed to be presented at 1:00 pm Pacific Standard Time and you think it’s at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Get familiar with time zones to ensure you’re early to every meeting and prepared for every deadline, whether on the phone or via video.

Rule 4: Dress the Part

While you’re avoiding traffic and saving money on gas and food, let’s not forget that you were hired to do a job. And part of doing the job is dressing the part. You should make every effort to follow the dress code. After all, you probably won’t be expected to wear a suit and tie and dress shoes with matching socks.

Rule 5: Take breaks

This is the essential rule except for maybe the mute button. Whether you’re working in the traditional office environment or a new remote or hybrid model, you must take breaks throughout the day. Make time to step away from the computer to eat, read, or just stretch before you get back to work. It’s impossible to do your best work when run-down, tired, or stressed. So, take your breaks. Don’t overdo it but take them as often as you need within reason.

As the weeks turn to months, you will figure out when a meeting is best instead of a phone call or instant message. You’ll also get comfortable around time zones, dressing the part and giving yourself a well-deserved break now and then. Working remotely doesn’t need to be hard but it is different. Knowing the rules of engagement can only help.


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