Lena Shumnaya
Yes to Stickers, No to Voice Messages! Remote Work Etiquette
How to communicate with your colleagues and clients online in a modern polite way
During our childhood parents told us not to put elbows on the table at lunch, and to say “thank you” after eating. These simple rules of etiquette remain with us for life. But life changes, so does etiquette. Nowadays parents know the new etiquette even worse than we do.
That's' because online etiquette has to be learned not by books. We learn it empirically, just by examples. Is it necessary to put dots in correspondence? How many emojis are allowed in a message? How should I look on a video call? We get into awkward situations when we don’t know some of these things.
Let’s save you from embarrassment! This is how you communicate politely via emails with clients, chats with colleagues, and video calls with anyone.
Just because people like the sound of their names. It's polite to start communication with greetings in any cases. Especially if this is your first email.
4 Email Communication Tips
1. Address the interlocutor by name
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2. Do not forget about the subject of the email and comments on the attached files
What the email is about should be clear from its subject. “Marketing report for April 2022” is good, “Ready report” is bad, “(no subject)” is the worst.
Comments on attached files help recipients to deal with them. Simply “I am attaching the requested file” and “I have attached 3 documents: X, Y and Z” are good varieties. The best one is to immediately attach a link to the online file in the place where it is discussed.
3. Don't delay answering
Let's be honest: we expect a prompt response when we write to someone.
The deadline for a decent response to a work email is 24 hours. But it is better to answer as soon as you see the email, even if some questions do not require urgency and can wait. In this case, you can always answer something like “Thank you, I received the information, I'll be back soon”.
4. Put your colleagues to the copy
In order not to duplicate important information [we know that it can be distorted while passing from hand to hand] and keep everyone who’s involved informed.
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9 Recommendations for Chats in Messengers
  1. Introduce yourself
Someone added you to an old chat? Don’t forget to write who you are, how to contact you and what questions you can answer. Saying “hello” is a must even if you've already been introduced.
2. Separate team chats from client chats
А more businesslike tone and its own atmosphere with a client—and whatever you want with colleagues. Even GIFs with cats and favorite stickers!
3. Use chats for their intended purposes
You should not discuss the corporate event in the project chat, and the project—in the corporate event chat. A simple rule, thanks to which neither work nor leisure will suffer.
5. No voice messages
You may be more comfortable talking than writing. But be sure that recipients of your messages are more comfortable to read them. It’s faster, clearer, and gives you the opportunity to re-read the text. The main rule of digital etiquette is to think not only about your comfort.
Pressing the Caps Lock button on your keyboard to emphasize the importance of your message is bad. You do not need to give the impression that you are raising your voice. DON’T YOU?
If you want to emphasize some part of the text, make it bold. This feature is available in almost all messengers. In Telegram, for example, it's enough to simply place the text between two asterisks—*just like this*.
7. Tag everyone you need
Make sure that a needed person will see the message in a huge chat. And the rest of the members will understand who you are talking to.
8. Don't text in chats outside business hours
Give the team a break from work and let them chat with someone other than colleagues. Well, or at least not to communicate with anyone at all after 19:00—such desires happen too.
9. Put chats on mute
We recommend you to customize each chat for yourself. Somewhere you can receive alerts only when you’re mentioned [see. 6], while other chats can be completely turned off. It will help you not to lose concentration on work and not go crazy with a ton of notifications.
Believe us, if you are really needed right now, your colleagues will reach you even if the chat is muted.
4. Write all the text in one message
You can say everything in one message, without distracting your interlocutors for several notifications.
Prepare the call agenda
Write down the tasks and questions that need to be discussed in the chat. Or at least fix them for yourself. This will help the conversation not turn into chaos
Connect on time
One more simple rule of normal offline etiquette. Being late is bad. Even at video calls.
Write follow-ups
A short list with the results of the call, which will confirm that the conversation was not in vain.
Get ready for screen sharing
Close all unnecessary tabs in case you need to show something quickly and don't want to reveal your personal correspondence.
Turn off the microphone if you are silent
The sounds that you hear in the background (dog barking, baby crying, neighbor's drill) can interfere with others.
Take turns speaking
It is impolite to interrupt, we know this from ordinary etiquette. Interruptions complicate video calls communication even harder.
This will help the conversation seem like a real meeting. And because of that the interlocutors will read your reactions in the right way.
Turn the camera on. Yes!
This is especially important when they don’t know each other.
Represent all participants in the call
The ideal option is to create a meeting in the Google calendar, invite all call participants to it and add a link to the call itself.
Arrange a call beforehand
Most work calls are on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Skype. Create accounts everywhere if you haven't already. Put an avatar, use your real first and last name and indicate your position in the company.
Create a working account in every video calling service
10 Video Call Rules
And a Few More Tips
Let's finish the article with the simplest rule of etiquette. Talk to people the way you would like them to talk to you ❤️
Communicate in the channels that everyone is comfortable with
WhatsApp, Telegram or classic email? While choosing a communication channel take the opinion of the client into account before your own preferences.
Don't get lost
Messengers are used for quick communication, so you should not ignore them during the working day. Try to respond to messages at least an hour after receiving.
If a question requires a detailed answer, for which there is no time now, it would be polite to write it that way: “I saw your message, I’m very busy right now, I can answer in about an hour”. And everyone would stay calm!
Give the files meaningful names
Those that reveal their content. Not “hsdjf”, but “mailing_layout_25_04_22”.
Adapt to the communication style of the interlocutor
If your client uses emoji and sends you GIFs, you don't have to hold yourself back.
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