Navigating Standards for Office Etiquette in a Hybrid World

An astonishing 98% of the working population would like to work remotely at least part-time. The hybrid work model has become an effective way to satisfy employers and employees.

Adjusting to this new office environment can be exciting and challenging for everyone. Not everyone knows how to navigate all situations in our increasingly virtual world. Despite the freedom that hybrid work provides, good manners never go out of style.

It is vitally important to learn how to navigate office etiquette standards to ensure mutual respect and consideration among co-workers, management, executives and clients. Keep reading to learn more about navigating standards for hybrid workplace etiquette.

The New Office Landscape

Over the past several years, the concept of the ideal work environment has dramatically shifted. The idea of a traditional office job with strict hours has undergone profound changes. Technology paired with societal shifts has sparked changes that make it difficult to return to a traditional, on-site workplace model.

Employers want to offer more work-life balance to attract and retain top talent in an ever-evolving workplace climate. Employees crave the freedom to work on their own terms while delivering high-quality work and maintaining productivity.

Whether you spend all your time in the office or work at home a few days a week, you might wonder how to navigate your organization's new hybrid work environment.

Without well-defined standards, the lack of daily connection and face-to-face accountability may result in an erosion of basic office etiquette.

Good office etiquette serves as a guidepost, providing everyone with professional social cues and a way to communicate effectively. It allows for meaningful conversations, collaborations and conflict resolutions.

Virtual Etiquette Essential Principles and Best Practices

Some professionals feel that a virtual meeting requires less etiquette than an on-site meeting in a conference room. That isn't the case. In fact, any time teams work together, professionalism and etiquette provide a framework for positive behavior in any model or environment.

It is vital to engage in professional behaviors with team members across the table, across the ocean or on the other side of town.

Here are some essential virtual etiquette essentials to know and practice in a hybrid world:

Show up for virtual meetings on time

A virtual meeting is as important as one conducted in person when everyone should arrive on time or slightly early. For a virtual meeting, hybrid and remote employees need to ensure that their software, hardware and connectivity are functional to log into the session in plenty of time.

Dress professionally for meetings and other interactions

One of the joys of working at home a few days a week is the chance to wear sweatpants or pajamas. That may work well when you are working solo at your home workstation on a project. But it is important to dress for each virtual meeting as if attending it in person. Take the time and effort to dress appropriately.

Learn and remember your team members' names

One of the first things you learn about someone new is their name. You may find it easier to remember someone's name when you see them in the office each day. Learning and remembering your co-workers' names is still essential in a hybrid work environment.

Here are a few tips to commit names to memory:

  • Listen carefully and repeat the name silently to yourself.
  • Stay focused each time you meet a new person.
  • Determine why it is important to know someone's name.
  • Repeat the person's name as soon as you meet.

Respect everyone's time

It is easy to feel somewhat disconnected when employees work in different environments. There are times when hybrid employees might work in different time zones. In any case, it is important to remain considerate of everyone's time. If there is a department calendar, monitor everyone's reported schedule. Check-in during available times and take those times into consideration when awaiting a response to an email or a voicemail message.

Keep up with communications

Staying in touch with co-workers, managers and clients is critical. Ensure you understand everyone's preferred communication methods and style and do your best to accommodate them. Ideally, they will do the same when you initiate communication.

Key Takeaways

No matter where you work, basic office etiquette will never go out of style. The best way to positively engage with everyone on your team and to help build and support your company culture is to refer to all the traditional standards of etiquette and tweak them to work in our modern hybrid reality.

Flexible work models are still somewhat new and unfamiliar to most of us. Do your best to remain thoughtful, considerate and open to learning.

Contact us if you need more tips and strategies for managing hybrid work issues.

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CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.