Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Virtually Speaking

When you go to work everyday and have your own little cubicle amongst a sea of cubicles, you are aware of the “Office Protocol”.  It’s the unspoken understanding of how you work with and speak to colleagues and clients.  Of course, you will always have those that deviate from this standard but generally speaking, you know what is expected of you in the “real” world.

In the world of cubicles, you bump into colleagues everyday.  You chat it up over the water cooler and become familiar with one another’s boundaries.  Of course you will have your “close talker”; this is the employee that invades the personal space of others.  And there is always the “phone junkie”; the employee that likes to talk on the phone incessantly.  The ever popular “cubicle groupie” slurps a cup of coffee and makes the rounds of all the cubicles checking on everyone else’s work but not contributing anything themselves.
Ah, yes, the joys of the real world.  But how do things work in the virtual world?  What boundaries exist there and how do you interact with your colleagues and clients that you probably will never meet? It seems as though some virtual workers throw all sense of decorum and protocol out the window just because they don’t have blank cubicle walls to stare at.

So what you can you do?  Well, for starters, you can set up your home office properly.  You need to have a quiet environment with a door that you can shut to outside distractions.  Your clients don’t want to hear screaming kids, Bon Jovi blaring in the background or your toilet flushing.  You may work from home but the client certainly doesn’t want to be reminded of that.

Once you have an office space in place, get a dedicated phone line.  Don’t have your kids answer the phone and always be sure to answer professionally.  Chewing gum, sipping coffee and munching food are not appropriate ways to talk to clients or colleagues.

What about the ever popular method of communicating – email?  Don’t drop your professionalism just because you can fire off an email instead of speaking to the person directly.  Be sure you use proper grammar.  Don’t speak in ALL CAPS.  That conveys that you are yelling at the person.  Be concise and professional.  If you must criticize, do it in a constructive manner.  Respond to emails in a timely fashion.  If you don’t have an answer to a question, be sure and respond that you are working on it and you will get back to the person.

So even if you work everyday in your big, fuzzy red slippers and your snowman pajamas (yes, I have a set), you can be the consummate professional and no one will be the wiser.

Posted on October 19th, 2009 by Team CVA

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