We live in a time of limitless possibilities. No longer are we limited by time, distance or borders when it comes to working with others. It is now commonplace to work with people from all over the world, or right in our own neighborhood using our laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
Whether you are a full-time freelancer, a part-time remote worker, or someone who has a lot of long-distance clients and colleagues, chances are you use services such as Skype, email, conference calls and collaborative software to help you do business and communicate. While technology and the digital age make amazing things possible, there are drawbacks to the lack of face-to-face interaction that comes with the remote work territory...you may have already run into issues of miscommunication, digital faux pas or cultural barriers.
Here's how to not mess up in the future when it comes to remote work and using Skype for work sessions.
Remote Work Scheduling
Respect Time Zones
Always be mindful of where colleagues, clients, and employees/employers live. If you find yourself working with people in Europe or Asia, it is important to establish the best times for communicating.
While certain types of work seem to lend themselves to a less structured time-frame, don't assume that just because you have no problem working until midnight means other people are the same way. Do your best to schedule chats during traditional business hours.
Skype for Work Suggestions
Be Professional During Skype Chats
Even if you are sure that your colleagues take a casual approach to business, it is still important to maintain a professional demeanor during Skype chats and meetings. Show up for chats on time. Look clean, well-groomed and dressed neatly. Use your manners. Don't enter or leave video calls abruptly, always thank your fellow caller for their time and use appropriate greetings. Need to see what we mean? Check out this funny video Tripp and Tyler made on "A Conference Call in Real Life."
When interacting with people of different cultures, be mindful. Don't use slang or assume that people will get your humor. If you communicate with people via a text-based chat, don't get in the habit of just "barging in." Always open with a polite greeting, and ask if it is a good time to chat.
Make Sure To Communicate Clearly
A lot can get lost in translation when you are texting, chatting or emailing. It is always important to communicate clearly and concisely, but this is even more important when you aren't communicating face-to-face. Don't get in the habit of misspelling or abbreviating words. Read your emails aloud to yourself before sending to make sure it sounds the way you want it to sound. Err on the side of brevity, but take care that you still sound cordial and polite.
Most of these things are common sense, but when you are spending a lot of time online it can get easy to become complacent. Working remotely has many perks and advantages. You have more flexibility of both time and location. For people who love to travel, or who don't live in larger cities, remote work is a great opportunity to do work you love from where you are. It does have drawbacks, however, and you must be extra careful to observe professionalism and good internet etiquette.