Working from home has become commonplace since the pandemic began. Many people have been fortunate to conduct business outside of the office in an effort to minimize any effects on their health or the health of their company.
This has changed the way many businesses interface with employees, clients, customers, and vendors. Traveling to the office took precious time out of each day and costs of getting to distant meetings were sometimes prohibitive. But now, “traveling” the virtual highways with improving technologies allow people to see and hear each other without having to be in the same physical location.
However, conducting business in a virtual environment isn’t perfect.
Without face to face in-person communication, important information is lost. We can’t read body language or pick up on visual cues which help us communicate effectively. The true atmosphere of the business or organization can feel misplaced – absent the in-person free-flowing discussions in which everyone could read the atmosphere of the workplace on a given day.
Meaningful discussion and constructive arguments with problem-solving as the goal helps productivity – but feels missing in a virtual environment. “There is no perfect solution,” as economist, Thomas Sowell reminds us, and we need to make the best of whatever workplace we have. We can take advantage of the opportunity to be our best in spite of working from home and not being physically present with others.
We represent the organizations we work for. Our actions are a measure of how others view our organization, and within the organization people recognize the attitude of a team player. Many businesses operate with cross-functional teams so when organizations go virtual, there is more pressure to show up as your best self.
One profound question always faces us: “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?” Posing this question on a daily basis gives you an immediate etiquette thermometer reading. Taking your etiquette temperature keeps you mindful of your self-presentation and that of the organization you represent.
Respect is earned and given. Your contribution-motivated professionalism will always be appreciated whether working from home, in your office, or on the road.