Be it a freelancer, businessman, or an employee, remote work has kind of become the new normal for most of us. Some of you might have worked remotely in the past (we’re talking about pre-corona time here), while others may have always worked in-office and had no remote work experience.
COVID has given almost all of us an opportunity to experience the remote work environment which some of us fell in love with while others hated to the core. Those who have worked remotely know that remote work comes with its own package of pros and cons. It gives you flexibility and ownership of work, but at the same time increases the pressure of professionalism and even greater sense of responsibility.
No matter what anyone says, being a freelancer in a digital world is always about working remotely and so we will help you in developing some professional conduct and etiquettes to successfully work online.
1. Build a Welcoming Online Brand
Online brand development is the first and foremost conduct of working remotely. There are 80% chances that you’ll not meet your clients in-person and manage everything remotely. In that case, your potential as well as current clients are going to assess you and your brand based on your online presence and what you put online.
A strong online brand is one of the signs of high professionalism and credibility therefore, kickstart your remote work with building your website, social media platforms, designated contact number, great online customer service, and genuine customer reviews. This will save the clients from the hassle of finding needed information which counts as professional.
2. Embrace Email Etiquette
As discussed earlier, most of the time you won’t be able to to meet with your clients in-person. That being said, you’ll be conducting your communication with them largely via emails and sometimes through Business WhatsApp. Therefore, it’s necessary to embrace the habit of checking, reading, and responding to your emails every day, particularly on business days.
When sending emails, try to be concise and relevant to the subject. Always add a subject to your email so you can easily make your point without writing lengthy sentences or paragraphs. Since your clients cannot see you speaking in emails, sometimes they’ll assume your intentions rather than understanding it. Therefore, it’s always advisable to proofread your emails before sending to eliminate grammatical errors, punctuation errors, slang, and/or unnecessary CAPITALIZATION (this is often referred to as screaming or shouting).
Make sure you have a proper email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com. Don’t forget to use an email signature containing your name, contact information, and website address as it adds to your professional image.
3. Be Rational
Just as you used to face problems where you were an employee working in-office, you’re going to meet with problems working remotely as well. You might have heard the saying “It’s business –leave your emotions at the door”. That’s exactly what we want you to practice and adopt.
There will be times when you find yourself in a wrong project or probably a chaotic situation or take on a bad client. Be sure not to lose your temper and take emotional decisions. This is your business, not the family drama and so you need to be rational in both the way you think and act. Learn to curb your anger and communicate politely, no matter what. You may adopt different techniques of releasing your anger such as writing a frustrating note and then discarding it when your mood feels okay.
4. Respect Deadlines
Freelancing business is all about deadlines and delivering work on time. Each project that you take on shall come with several milestones and a final deadline which you must meet in order to maintain a good brand image and provide outstanding customer service. If not, it will cost you not only money but also your business’s reputation.
We understand that sometimes you can be overwhelmed by your packed schedule at work or personal life, but be sure to communicate that upfront with your client and have them extend the deadline. This way you won’t be disappointing them by sending an excuse email at the eleventh hour. It will also help you and your client hold the same expectations for the project.
5. Take it Serious
It is your business, so it should be treated as such. Although freelancing and business allows you to be your own boss and be flexible about work and timings, that doesn’t mean that you begin ignoring the importance of work.
You’re allowed to relax and chill but be sure to not do so at the expense of your work. Don’t forget that you’re a professional and you’re the one who reflects your brand. If you draw a line between business and pleasure you’ll be under less pressure and be able to enjoy your personal life as well.
6. Know Your Capacity
A lot of reputable freelancers when begin working full-time as a freelancer –making it a business, fall in the trap of taking as many projects as they can. Don’t do that! Do not take more than you can handle. It’s also advisable to know your working capacity and learn to manage your time and energy.
It’s a balancing act. Do not say “yes” to each offer that’s been thrown your way. Take your time to research each project and client before accepting an offer. Do not take on projects that pay less than you work unless there’s a real reason for accepting it. Avoid working with non-reputable clients.
The above-mentioned etiquettes and attitude guidelines are meant to be practiced in order to make them an essential part of your professionalism. As you grow, you’ll come up with more solutions and guidelines tailored to your specific needs and situations. Good luck with the assessment quiz!