I have been debating whether to write about this for weeks now as there is no definitive answer to this question, as the impact of remote work on professionalism is a complex issue with many factors to consider. But I wanted to share my observations and hear if I need to think differently about these issues.

Daily, I’m having video meetings, and observing how people manage these meetings has been interesting. I have found that people do not take video meetings as seriously as face-to-face meetings. Is it just me, or is this happening around you as well?

There have been cases of candidates not appropriately dressed for interviews, having interviews in their cars without a blurred background, and doing interviews in a room where a person is walking in and out. Am I being harsh? Has this become acceptable behaviour for interviews and meetings? I would like to hear your opinion on this. I have also had meetings where people have their meals in the middle of the meeting; “It is a coffee chat, hey?” I find it challenging to concentrate when talking to a person on Teams, and they are busy eating. All these instances make me wonder if working remotely has made us let our guard down and become less professional. It could be me being old school and struggling to grasp that the world of work has changed.

Another one that gets to me is meeting with a person for the first time and having their video off throughout the meeting. Why did we not just do a telephonic meeting if we will have videos off? Do you take kindly to that as a candidate interviewing with a company and the interviewer has their video off? Do you immediately switch yours off too?

As much as there are a lot of upsides to working remotely, such as increased productivity and employee satisfaction, I believe professionalism has been slightly affected.

In my opinion, the following can help you maintain the level of professionalism required while working remotely:

  • Set clear boundaries between work and personal time. Make sure to have a dedicated workspace in your home where you can focus on work and avoid distractions.
  • Get dressed for work. Even if you are not going to an office, getting dressed for work can help you stay in a professional mindset.
  • Take breaks throughout the day. Get up and move around, or step outside for some fresh air. This will help you stay refreshed and focused.
  • Communicate regularly with your team. Stay in touch with your colleagues and keep them updated on your work.
  • Be mindful of your body language and communication style. Even though you are not in the same room as your colleagues or clients, it is essential to maintain a professional demeanour.

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