The new world of working from home is so fresh for many employees across the country—and trying to navigate proper work from home etiquette can be challenging, even for the most overachieving employees.
When your office doubles as your bedroom or dining room, your boss isn’t there to see if you’re taking a two-hour Facebook break or if you’re only getting to your computer at 11 a.m. That said, being accountable for your actions like you would in the office and developing healthy habits while working from home is only half the battle. How do you continue to show your boss your worth when they can’t see you on a daily basis?
We spoke to a handful of C-level executives and business owners in our network to see exactly what and how employees across all fields can continue showing up and impressing—even while working from home.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
“Asking detail-oriented questions on how tasks should be completed is very impressive to me,” says Brett Prentiss, Co-Founder of Instinct Marketing. “There is a very human element taken away when you are not face-to-face so taking the time to over communicate, especially virtually is very important.”Time is truly money and as a successful business owner, you truly do understand that.
Practice the “NNTR Update” method.
“One of my favorite strategies I share with people who want to communicate clearly and consistently with their boss is the No Need to Respond (NNTR) Update,” says Shanna A. Hocking, Founder of Be Yourself Boldly, a platform to support women in leading themselves and others and the Host of One Bold Move A Day podcast. “NNTR is a twice weekly email update to your boss to share your value at work.”
According to Hocking, many different bosses can benefit from this update, whether they are actively engaged with you or not frequently interacting with you. It’s a chance for you to share on your own terms what you’re working on and what you’ve accomplished. Especially right now, when you can’t necessarily have a water cooler conversation or stop by the boss’ office.
“If you are working remotely, I think that the biggest thing that will impress your boss is to stay communicating with the team and them, and make sure you are available in your work hours when they need it,” explains Ethan Taub, CEO of Loanry. “Impromptu meetings may come up or schedules may change, you need to be prepared for that and willing to go the extra mile.”
Just being enthusiastic and flexible will be something your boss will not forget when you go back to the office, so make sure to keep these ideas in mind when you clock on. Reply to all your emails with support and kindness, and be the first one to pop into the zoom call. Be the person that people can depend on.
Consider upgrading your tech.
“You can improve your video quality by using a high definition webcam like a Logitech c920,” explains James Eagleman, Founder of TravelingLights.com. “This will improve the clarity of your video feed especially if the inbuilt cam on your laptop isn’t up to date.”
What’s more, many work-related video chats are plagued by poor audio and background noise. Eagleman recommends improving your audio quality by using a headset that has a noise-canceling microphone. “This will make sure that your mic is picking up more of your voice and less of the room.”
Show up early to virtual meetings.
“One of the things that impresses me most is when my remote employees are early to our team meetings,” explains Jesse Silkoff, Co-Founder and President at MyRoofingPal. “It is so frustrating having to wait an extra ten minutes for everyone to arrive, adjust their settings, and be ready to contribute!”
According to Silkoff, signing in a few minutes early and having everything ready shows that you’re making a meaningful effort to be a productive member of the team rather than a distraction.
According to Mick McKeown, Founder of Pennovia, honest time management is extremely important when it comes to remote work. “Deadlines are met because you have communicated with others about your schedule,” McKeown says. “We understand that the kids need to go to daycare, your pool needs to be painted and the dog needs to get walked, what we don’t understand is either not communicating those issues or not managing that into your schedule. Overall, working remotely will require transparency, integrity, and tenacity.”
Set up virtual coffee break/happy hours.
“In this WFH remote world, social interaction is missing,” explains Alain Hunkins, CEO of Hunkins Leadership Group. “Telling your boss you’ll organize these informal events shows your thinking about the greater good of the whole team.”
Recap action items at the end of meetings.
This is timeless, but, according to Hunkins, knowing ‘who’s doing what’ is even harder to pin down when working from a distance. “Knowing someone is keeping track and follows up shows your boss that you’re on top of making progress,” Hunkins says.