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Six Bad Habits Every Remote Co-Worker Should Lose Right Away

Remote work is the new norm. And with that, you need to do a lot of things differently. What you really don’t want to do is make it any more difficult for yourself or the rest of the team. In this article, we will talk about a few ways in which you can avoid being “that co-worker.”

The coronavirus pandemic has had more people working from home than ever before. Making the transition from working inside an office to working from home (WFH) can be quite the challenge. This is especially true if it was an unexpected change, as is for so many in the present scenario.

The point is what exactly does that “co-worker” look like in the remote work environment?

But what, exactly, does “that co-worker” look like in a WFH home environment?

Let us throw in a look at some of the worst habits displayed by remote co-workers. These are habits you’ll not want to inculcate if you are to thrive in the WFH environment along with your team.

1.Reluctance to accept remote technology

changing from old to new tech

A lot of adjustments are required to work from home successfully. By and large, these adjustments come in the form of tools and technology. Cloud-based messaging apps, collaboration tools, performance monitoring apps, and video conferencing software are the new norm. But some people just do not get that, and for reasons best known to them, they refuse to adapt.

For example, say the team moves all communication to Facebook Workplace. However, one co-worker drags their heels and refuses to download the app. They effectively cut themselves out of project communication.

The other frequent adaptability issue that people face is with the cloud. Most companies have already moved on to uploading their work and other collaterals to the cloud. But more often than not, there is one coworker that cannot or will learn cloud applications.

The larger point is about adapting to change. A lot of new tools help us do remote work more effectively. However, it works only when the team is willing to learn and adapt. The entire team suffers whenever any one coworker says “no” to learning new things.

2.Multitasking during remote meetings

Imagine meeting the team in person. No one whips out their phone or starts typing an email right away. To be precise, you do not even work on the project that is being discussed in the meeting.
All of that applies to remote meetings as well. Just because your coworkers cannot see what you are doing, you shouldn’t start taking attention off the meeting. It is highly unprofessional to half-listen to your teammates while you move on with a separate project, scroll through social media, or tackle a separate project.

It’s understandable you could land in an emergency on the odd occasion. But multitasking during emergencies is not only disrespectful, it also undermines the managers that are leading the meeting.

Non-participative teammates make meetings less effective to the point that they become a waste of time.

If you are in a virtual meeting with your team or clients:

  • Be an active participant in the meeting
  • Be responsive
  • Stay silent when others are speaking
  • Contribute whenever you have some valuable input
  • Do not multitask

In case some of your team members are engaging in multitasking, make sure you talk to them individually after the meeting. Explain to them why it is important to live and breathe inside the meeting. 

3.The Mute Button Conundrum

To mute or not to mute…

Almost everyone is in a fix with the mute button. Most of us want to participate in the ongoing discussion. That is why we want to keep ourselves unmuted, understandably so. However, it is way more sensible to mute yourself when you are not an active participant in the call.

You do not want to be “that coworker” whose dog barks, phone rings, or family speaks during the meeting. The worst is definitely your mic picking up the sound of you munching aloud.

None of that smells like the recipe of a popular coworker with the teammates.

The safe way is to leave the mic on when you are participating in a meeting of three or more people. Apart from that, make sure to mute yourself all the time.

4.Lack of communication and availability

The definitive work of working in a physical establishment is proximity. All you need to do is swing by someone’s office to conclude whether or not they are available. When people are not available, you know they are occupied with another meeting, are out snacking, or are at home, resting.

Availability is shrouded by ambiguity when teams work remotely. This may lead to issues. Let’s say you have a two-hour meeting scheduled for the afternoon. If a team-member does not let their manager know they aren’t available, they might not be able to fulfill time-sensitive requests during that window. Everyone can be easily frustrated if the team member does not respond to the requests.

While working remotely, it is paramount that you communicate with your team members when you are and are not available. Set your status as ‘unavailable’ on your Slack, Teams or whichever other collaboration tool you are using.

In case you are not using any of these messaging apps, share a calendar with your team. If none of these work for you, go old school and leave your manager a text.

5.Lack of respect for the team

First of all, don’t turn up for video meetings in funky attire (unless that’s how you do it in your organization).

The other important thing you want to do is respect the working hours. Don’t be a person that skips (or doesn’t skip) work during working hours and does work outside of working hours. Even if you are unluckily that person, do not try to impose the same on your coworkers.

They might comply with such requests once in a while. But they will not put their hearts to work. You do not want the burnout to last even during the regular office hours.

Across the world, the worst kind of remote coworkers are the ones that do not respect the boundaries of their coworkers. For example, unless you work night shifts, you should not expect replies to emails that you sent out at 11 PM.

The same applies to things like having regular meetings on Saturdays or not giving your coworkers space to attend their family and personal obligations. You need to respect your coworkers’ WFH boundaries by all means.

6.Slacking off

Everyone’s going through a rough phase and all of us who have jobs should consider ourselves lucky. That also means most teams are expecting higher productivity from their employees. As such, everyone needs to cut everyone else some slack.

Teams will need to navigate the transition well to emerge stronger on the brighter side.m You cannot use the WFH cushion to slack off on purpose. If people on the team are binge-watching shows on Netflix or are forever late to meetings, it’s best to have a proper conversation with them. If you are the culprit here, pause and reflect. It’s the right time to realign your present working standards to your long-term career goals.

Get yourself a task-list or goal sheet and recommit yourself to achieving them everyday. For more WFH tips, check out other articles on our.

About Author

Krishna Vemuri,