Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Etiquette for Covid-19 Remote Work

Interruptions kill your focus. Before sitting down in front of your computer, make sure that the needs of your children, even your pet’s are met. Try to work your schedule around the quality time spent with them. This gives children a sense of priority and security given the circumstances. 

EtiquetteWise™ Tips for Remote Work due to Covid-19

Following the recent pandemic caused by Covid-19, many governmental offices, international organizations, corporations and other professional institutions have advised their employees to work remotely from home. This sudden switch has created new rules to follow at home – namely our interim office location, at least for the foreseeable future. Working from home is not an excuse to loose your professionalism or your motivation. Nevertheless, overcoming these unprecedented circumstances needs self-discipline, patience and etiquettewise™ skills.

As I often work from home, I must say that it can be an advantage because I don’t have to commute, nor stress about the morning traffic, I have more flexibility in my schedule all the while carrying on my responsibilities as needed. However, I understand that this may not be the case for many of you. Therefore, I have prepared a short list of tips to help you manage your situation during this current lockdown.

Once Awake, Don’t Stay Long in Bed

This may be quite tempting, especially during rainy days, but it actually reduces your motivation and thereby your productivity for the day. Getting up early, even if not as early as usual, will help you sustain an efficient routine and organize your day better.


If you own a home workout machine, then use it by all means. If not, I suggest working out at your own pace with safe exercise moves to keep your body active and healthy. If possible, use also online videos to practice some yoga moves as this can ease your anxiety and help you maintain your mental health. For those of you who own an outdoor facility such as a garden or a balcony, make use of it to stimulate your mind and get in touch with nature. Otherwise, let the fresh air in from the windows to boost your morale and increase your productivity.

Dress for the Day

For the professionals who need to work from home, act like as if you are actually going to work. Of course you don’t need to wear a suit and put on your shoes, but certainly take a shower, remove your pyjama and get into comfortable cloths. This creates a momentum to help you carry on with the day with a decent level of professionalism as you would in your office.

Prevent Interruptions

I know this is easier said than done, but interruptions kill your focus. Before sitting down in front of your computer, make sure that the needs of your children, even your pet’s are met. Try to work your schedule around the quality time spent with them. This gives children a sense of priority and security given the circumstances. If your phone rings while you’re working, prioritize the calls according to rationale. If it’s the number of an elderly family member, pick the phone up to ensure their wellbeing. Otherwise, keep all distractions, including social media, to a minimum until you get a break to catch up with everything. At home it is also tempting to take breaks for cooking, doing your laundry, chitchatting with your spouse or checking on the kids. If you feel like pausing often, then schedule short breaks to avoid distractions.

Keep it Professional

When you need to connect with your colleagues from your virtual office, stay focused and keep the conversation mostly related to work. Avoid complaining about the situation as you won’t accomplish much from stating the obvious but you could come across as a moaner. You might enjoy sipping your drink while talking, that’s fine of course as long as you keep all types of food away from your mouth while you’re on the phone. If you’re on a video call, mind your voice tone and body language, as you must still be perceived as a professional.

Assign a Space for Work-Only Purposes

Find a space in a less crowded room where you can keep your work papers, computer and other important documents without having to remove them on a daily basis. Some find the kitchen table as an alternative for a work desk or even the dining room as a compromise for a virtual office. The important thing is to establish a fixed area for your workload. Should there be family members besides you who needs work space as well, be supportive and give each other room. With patience and respect you can all be more constructive and efficient.

Develop a Routine

Organize a daily routine including an official start and an end time for work. This is crucial for your work-life balance at home. Manage your entire day developing rituals at your own rhythm from waking up early, exercising, doing your morning chores, showering, dressing up, eating at same time slots and working at determined hours. Just as you plan to start on time, plan as well to finish in a timely manner. As you know, Life ends but work never ends! Use the rest of the day to bond with your loved ones, connect with friends or even explore a new hobby. Creating such practices incorporates self-discipline and increases your productivity at all levels.

Be Human Again

Besides avoiding handshakes and social distancing, Coronavirus reminded humanity about what should matter most to mere mortals. Financial success, politics, economy, stock markets, commodities, banking, entertainment, tourism, you name it… they all have shaped the purpose of humankind in the era we live in. But with all these aspects on hold, human beings are back to survival mode. Your priority is to stay alive and healthy, embrace your family, appreciate what you have and empathize with the ones who are loosing these treasures today one way or another.

You may be unable to interact with others physically, but you can still use your well-mannered skills to show compassion, gratitude, respect, and humility with a caring phone call, a warm video connection or a kind message via social media.

With the Covid-19 crises, try to have a positive outlook, learn from your experience, focus on what really matters, stay safe and enjoy your loved ones. Remember you’re not alone, we’re all in this together!

Meet our newest contributor, Irma Vartanian Balian, founding Director of ProtocolWise ™. She has lived in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Her rich cultural background, her commitment to excellence, along with her expertise in Protocol and Soft Diplomacy, equipped lrma to provide valuable advice to her clients while putting them at ease. Irma trains leaders, corporate teams, diplomats, individuals, families and professionals, both regionally and internationally with assurance and professionalism.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia©️ Etiquette  Encyclopedia

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