If you’ve recently shifted from a corporate office to working from home, you might find it challenging to stick to a “normal” routine
You may also be letting your personal brand fall by the wayside as Zoom meetings, and conference calls replace in-person collaboration. According to an article in Forbes Magazine, “When people think about working from home, many imagine sleeping in late, lounging around in their pajamas and long leisurely lunches.”
However, if you want to be successful while working remotely, it’s critical to establish a routine and create an environment that is conducive to high performance.
Dress Like You’re Going to the Office
One day last week, my husband walked into the living room right before a video conference. He was wearing a t-shirt and jogging shorts. I suggested that the least he could do was put on a button-down shirt. Lauren Rothman, a stylist and fashion expert for Inc., advises people to go one step further. “Don’t dress from the hip up for your next video conference call,” she writes. Instead, “define the look of your most productive self…”
Abrupt changes in daily routine can be destabilizing. The easiest way to alleviate any anxiety you might feel during this moment of uncertainty is to put on real clothes every day.
Clear the Space of Distractions
Whether on a call with clients or colleagues, your environment must allow you to focus on them. This means that you will need to set boundaries with anyone who shares your space. If you can, send the kids to another room and ask your partner not to disturb you when your door is closed unless there’s a dire emergency.
If you have a meeting or an urgent call, tell them how long you expect it to take. Work out a schedule. Communicate with each other about your needs for the day and trade-off responsibilities like cooking meals, cleaning, and caring for pets. Offer specific windows when you will and will not be available, and they will respect your boundaries
Set Yourself Up For Video Conference Success
When it comes to how you present yourself, there’s little difference between attending a Zoom call and sitting in a conference room. You still want to look your best and behave professionally. However, there are a few potential pitfalls specific to video conferencing that you can avoid by following these basic guidelines:
- Stage Your Space: Your background is equally as important as what you wear. Hang up a piece of artwork behind you or place a plant on your desk. Additionally, If you’re sitting against a white wall, add a pop of color to your wardrobe. It will make you look vibrant and focused.
- Eating and Drinking: If your host has communicated that eating during a meeting is acceptable, mute yourself and turn off the video when you do it. Follow standard etiquette rules – don’t speak with your mouth full and make sure to have a glass of water nearby.
- Surfing the Internet: If you’re constantly checking your email, then you’re not paying attention to the meeting. It may not seem like it, but people can tell when you’re aren’t focused on them during a video call.
- Body Language: Your posture is as essential on a remote call as it is in the conference room. Sit up straight, look alert and remember, you’re on camera. If you roll your eyes or make a face, everyone can see you.
- Tone of Voice: Be conscious of how you’re speaking. If you find yourself getting worked up during a call, turn off the video and take a few deep breaths. How you communicate is a significant part of your personal brand.
Whether you’re working from home for the very first time or you’ve been telecommuting for years, the shift we’re all experiencing now will take some getting used to. The best way forward is to pay attention to your environment, set boundaries, stick to a schedule. Remember that your personal brand is with you whether you’re working in a corporate office or at your kitchen counter.
If you’d like to learn additional tools to manage your personal brand while working remotely, contact me.