We might work in our sweat pants, but in distributed companies we still expect and enforce high standards of professionalism.
Recently, we wrote about the 10 Commandments of Remote Work Etiquette, which was a great professional development lesson for all remote workers. However, it’s important to remember the very basics of working and communicating online. Here’s a great refresher course courtesy of NetManners.
Remember that you are communicating with humans. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, then don’t type it online
Say “please” and “thank you.”
Remain objective. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
If your message is emotionally charged, walk away and take a break before replying.
Be generous with gratitude and compliments.
Swear sparingly, and only when you know that you share a common vocabulary with the others participating in the conversation.
Be formal with new contacts. You can be casual with people you have met multiple times or have known for more than 6 months.
When telling someone about your product or services, give a brief introduction and ask if they want more information.
Think global. Don’t limit your audience with cultural references or time zones.
Check your spelling!
Check your grammar.
Check your tone (read your message out loud.)
Do not write in all caps or all lowercase.
Spell out all words (instead of “C U L8R”) and use complete sentences.
Do not use more than three font colors in one email. Change from black only when necessary.
Respond to all emails within 24 hours. If you’re not available to provide a full response immediately, email back confirming your receipt and tell the sender when to expect a full message.
Avoid insider abbreviations.
Keep messages short and to the point, but remember that being too succinct can be confusing or offensive.
Format for easier reading; divide ideas into paragraphs.
Use two line breaks after paragraphs.
Do not indent the first line of paragraphs.
Use a single space after sentences.
Do not use email for synchronous communication. If you need a real-time conversation, use instant messaging or pick up the phone.
Do not use the Comic Sans font… ever.
Do not send large attachments without notice.
Do not send email attachments larger than 10MB.
Confirm that the recipient has the same software as you before sending attachments. Use pdf as much as possible.
The To: field is for those who you would like a response from, the Cc: field is for those who you are just FYI’ing (use sparingly), use the Bcc: field for contact whose information should be protected.
Think it through before clicking “Reply All.” Remove the addresses of those who your reply does not apply to.
If you change the topic of a thread, change the subject line or start a new thread.
Don’t forward jokes, chain letter emails, virus warnings, etc. to or from business accounts.
Start a conversation by asking if the recipient is available to chat. Better yet, check their calendar before sending a ping.
Keep conversations casual. Instant messaging is not the place for serious topics or confrontational issues.
If a conversation is getting too long or complication, switch to a phone or video call.
Avoid conducting multiple conversations at the same time.
Social Media and Blogs:
Stay on topic.
Keep commercialism to no more than a link at the end of your comment.
If new to a group, “lurk” for a while to get a feel for the community before posting.
Tip: Remember to assume nothing when communicating virtually. If you want to ensure that any of these are enforced in your company, include them in your onboarding handbook.
Are there any other netiquette items you’d add to these lists? Tweet us @yonder_io with your best online communication tips!