Working remotely is so common nowadays that we’ve all but forgotten that once upon a time the main reason people visited a coffee shop was to (gasp) drink coffee. Today, remote workers have spilled out of this cozy comfort zone and truly work anywhere – from airport lounges and train stations to parks and public libraries.
The driving factor behind the “work anywhere” trend is technology. Today’s mobile workers have sleek cloud phones that enable them to perform all of their work functions and access all of their work documents. No more clunky laptop. No fluttering papers to carry. From co-working locations like WeWork to public transportation hot spots, business VoIP phone systems such as MiCloud Connect make it easy for employees to keep working regardless of location.
This also means we’ve come a long way from a couple of working professionals sharing the coffee shop with people who are only there to sip a hot beverage. With 70 percent of employees working out of the office at least one day a week, and 53 percent working remotely at least half the week, your favorite remote spot is likely to get more crowded.
When you’re surrounded by others trying to get work done, the dynamics change. There’s more noise, less table space and a greater chance of overhearing private conversations. But a few guidelines of “coffee shop” etiquette can help us all share the same place amicably. As you jet between your favorite spots, keep the following in mind.
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5 ways to practice ‘coffee shop’ etiquette using a cloud phone
1. Choose a prime location.
Whether you’re traveling for work or just stepping away from your home office for a change of scenery, you’ll almost always have a couple of options for places to work. Pick the one that best matches your to-do list. If you plan to check emails and share files for a project, a library or museum can be a great choice. If you need to make some calls, a co-working location is better, since those around you will be more understanding of your need to make a little noise. The main thing to remember here is to plan ahead and think about what you need to get done, then choose the remote spot that’s appropriate.
2. Keep it down.
Your VoIP phone system's mobile-first design lets you do anything and everything you can do from the office, all while sipping your latte. But keep your surroundings in mind – and know what’s polite in each environment. If you’re in the library when a colleague asks for a quick video conference, suggest a group chat session instead. You can still converse with colleagues in real time, share a screen and collaborate, all without holding a lengthy – and potentially loud – conversation. If you do need to jump on a call, step outside and join quickly with single-click access. Be mindful of your speaking volume so those around you can continue with their work undisturbed. And don’t forget your colleagues on the other end of the virtual meeting. If you’re calling from a noisy location, like an airport or train station, mute your line.
3. Don’t be a space hog.
If you’re working alone, don’t be greedy and grab the biggest table in the place. Only bring what you really need. For example, if you’re using Mitel Teamwork, you can use the mobile application to collaborate with colleagues right from your smartphone. Share files, virtually chat and review your personal dashboard to stay on top of upcoming tasks. Let’s put it this way: If you don’t need your laptop, charger or other clunky equipment, leave it at home and sit comfortably at a table designed for one.
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4. Protect company information.
When working in public spaces, it’s important to be cognizant of where you are and who’s around you. A shared workspace with people from other companies isn’t the place to hold a call discussing confidential business matters. Book a conference room or work from the privacy of your hotel if you’re traveling. If you’re using public WiFi, keep your business data secure by turning off sharing settings and making sure your firewall is enabled. Your cloud phone comes with built-in VPN – use it. Also, use a secure password to lock your cloud phone. That way, company data remains secure if the device gets lost.
5. Watch the clock.
Anyone can wear out their welcome, even when they’re on a first name basis with the proprietor. Working from your favorite java stop should be a break from routine – not how you spend your entire workday. Check some emails, group chat with colleagues, even collaborate on the latest project and share files. But if you came in for breakfast and the 3 p.m. caffeine-rush crowd is pouring in, it’s probably time to pack up and leave. If you know you have several hours of work to do, choose a location where camping out is more acceptable, such as the local library. Speaking of the clock, be sure to time calls so they’re not starting when you’re about to board a train or hailing a cab to your next meeting. Allow yourself time to settle in, start the call on time and give proper attention to your colleagues.
The ability to work from multiple locations without skipping a beat is a beautiful thing. But it does require some basic etiquette if you want to get work done and let others around you do the same. These simple guidelines keep things friendly and productive for everyone.