Virtual Professionalism: A Necessity for Remote Workplaces

As we enter another week of working from home, we continue finding ways to meet with people through the many online options for video conferencing. Whether you are using Zoom, Google Hangouts, Uber Conference, Skype, or any other format, it is important to remember to practice professionalism. I am sure many of us have seen or heard of the video of the student who took her video group with her to the restroom. That is a major error and I am sure the student learned the lesson of a lifetime.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you by talking about proper expectations for a video meeting.

  • Virtual meetings should have a similar format to a face-to-face meeting. It is easy to believe that time works differently when so many people work from home or are alone in offices. On the contrary, time is even more important as everyone is working at a faster pace trying to accomplish more to earn more. Meetings should begin at the time scheduled.
  • It is good practice for the host to log in at least ten minutes in advance to make sure that everything is working correctly.
  • If this is a board meeting or team meeting, agendas should be given out in advance so that all can come to the meeting prepared and the meeting can progress as planned.
  • If you are having a one-on-one meeting, a brief description by the host is a good starter. That way, all parties are aware of where the conversation is meant to go and the desired outcome.
  • When conducting a group meeting, someone should be in charge of muting and un-muting attendees. Allowing multiple people to speak at once causes confusion and reduces productivity.
  • Have a timekeeper to keep the meeting moving. When opening the floor for questions, either have members use the chat function to raise a hand or ask their question so that someone can delegate who can answer.
  • All attendees should be giving the same amount of attention in a meeting as they would in person. If you are in a planned meeting, be attentive and avoid answering phones or speaking to anyone outside the call.
  • It may be annoying to dress up while at home. While that is understandable, it is good practice to at least wear business casual clothing. Although you are not in the same place as your coworkers, prospects, and clients, you should still represent yourself and your business well with your appearance. It is very important to avoid wearing inappropriate clothing.
  • Remember that sexual harassment policies are still in effect. Behaving in a manner that can be considered harassment is a policy violation whether done in person or remotely.
  • Do your best to end the meeting on time to be respectful of attendees.

By following these guidelines, we can ensure that we are continuing our company’s mission to serve our clients while supporting each other. Maintaining professionalism will take us through these new ways of connecting and beyond.

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