Given the transitional time of this past year, many organizations and small businesses are taking the time to adjust their employment practices.

This shift in work culture has posed its fair share of challenges within the office environment. Some employers are reluctant to evolve with these work transformations while others are not sure where to even begin making changes to help their now hybrid workforce and larger remote team adjust to this new era of office standards and practices.

To help you and your colleagues navigate these fluid waters, we have compiled a list of the best improvements you can make to revitalize in-office and remote etiquette this year.

Office Etiquette Within a Changing Landscape

Since the pandemic brought the world to a grinding halt, managers and owners have noticed many areas of the professional world that need improvement — the most significant of which being remote business practices and how to be a team player.

This makes it a wonderful time for employees to test out innovative workplace practices, such as hybrid work schedules where employees are only required to work in the office for a few days a week (as opposed to being required to be on-site five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Many employers are starting to make updates to their management styles by upgrading their communication methods through digital automation tools and moving employee health to the top of the company to-do list with regular and frequent check-ins on team well-being.

Some companies are even making changes to their office environments, such as redesigning their office space into open office, open break room, and open conference room designs to help improve workspaces for their team. Open office environments are great for increasing face-to-face interactions among team members and for revitalizing the professional image of your in-office common areas.

Remote work has become a common facet of everyday life for many workers now that the world is readjusting back to a new normal. As work culture shifts in response to these changes, many managers and owners are also doing their best to keep their remote employees healthy, happy, and productive.

Best Office Etiquette Practices to Use

To improve your team's workplace etiquette, the best place to start is by considering your overall company culture. Evaluate whether your small business is efficient in its methods of communication and where any existing needs might be overlooked throughout your daily practices. There are many easy ways to improve your company's team etiquette. For example, something as simple as implementing innovative tools and digital software can be extremely useful for improving business practices.

There are no office etiquette rules to abide by in every circumstance — each office is different. What is considered polite behavior in the workplace will vary by industry and cultural differences. However, there are standard office etiquette tips that you can use to show respect for your employees and your business.

Learn about the top three considerations you should keep in mind when developing a plan to improve the business etiquette of your team and your small business.

Prioritize Communication

Now that many businesses have to account for new types of employment standards, including hybrid workers and larger remote teams, it is essential to prioritize communication. Even if you still have staff members working in the office right across the hall from you, as a general rule, efficient and healthy communication is always essential for any team.

Make sure that your team is regularly available for communication, whether that be through an online messaging platform like Slack or by scheduling weekly Zoom video chats to connect your remote team with one another despite flexible and changing schedules. Simple changes like these will keep your team happy, improve efficiency across your staff, and increase the productivity of your team to generate additional revenue for your business.

Go beyond sending work emails to your team members, as well. Take the extra step to make personal phone calls to your employees to check in on how they are doing, pay attention to how new employees are adjusting to the team, and stay in touch with human resources to keep on top of any concerns of your employees.

Establish Healthy and Trusting Boundaries

If remote work or hybrid work are both new concepts to you or your managerial staff, it could be difficult to navigate the best practices for managing your team. Some managers and small business owners might have a tendency to "helicopter," or micromanage, their employees. This is a common tendency for managers who are unfamiliar with remote work environments.

It might seem a bit foreign to avoid looking over your shoulder to make sure your staff is doing the work they are supposed to be doing — and that they are doing so correctly. This tendency can actually be counterproductive in many ways and is a huge hindrance to the success of your small business. That is where trust and personal space come into play. If you hired your employees, then they must have capabilities that qualify them for the job. Empower your employees to work to their full potential by leaving space for breathing room throughout the workday. After all, your employees need time to work.

Constantly replying to messages can negatively factor into an employee's work time, as well. Even live messaging platforms can negatively impact productivity, if not used properly. It is not effective to constantly monitor your employees — in fact, this might have the opposite effect and can cause a reduction in productivity. No one likes to feel like they can't do their job. Instead, consider allowing your employees to take initiative here by asking what they prefer and are comfortable with when it comes to communication practices.

Be Mindful of Employee Mental Health

It is often easy to overlook the "human" component of your workforce. It is fairly common for managers and business owners alike to brush aside the mental health of their team members. If any good has come from the global pandemic, workplace mental health has resurfaced to become a common topic of discussion in the office, virtual or otherwise.

To ensure you have a team of happy and healthy employees, make an effort to be cognizant of their mental health. Virtual employees can struggle with establishing healthy work-life boundaries, so it is often beneficial to incorporate this into your company etiquette practices. The personal life of your staff is important to keep in mind when developing a good work etiquette for your team and company.

Consider adding meditation or other mental health training practices to team interactions. This is a great way to keep employees engaged with one another and to help individual team members be aware of their own needs so they can be more productive in the workplace. In the long run, this could even help your small business save money by reducing the likelihood of employee turnover and increasing the rate of employee retention. It is a win-win for employers and employees.

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Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific small business practices. Always consult with a professional accountant, human resource expert, or legal representative to ensure that you're meeting employment standards and regulatory requirements for your small business.