7 Etiquette Tips for Work Calls On the Go
Whether you work at home or travel for your job, making work calls on the go is becoming increasingly common thanks to our BYOD workplace culture. With email, text, video conferencing, and phone calls never out of reach, it simply makes sense to leverage these capabilities for work. There is a caveat though: you still have to be mindful of the other person’s experience. You may feel inclined to take a call from your favorite coffee shop, but that isn’t an excuse for being anything less than professional. Here are some tips, and basic etiquette concerns, that will help you take work calls on the go.
Work Calls Require an Investment in Good Headphones
If you intend to take work calls on the go – be it in the car, at your local coffee house, while on a walk, or at home – be sure to invest in a pair of good headphones so that you can isolate the call from the sound around you. Having to ask the other callers to constantly repeat themselves because you can’t hear them is distracting, unprofessional, and a waste of your time and theirs. Don’t make that mistake. There are a wide range of wireless headphones from companies like Bose, Sony, and Beats by Dre that will help you focus on what matters most – the call.
Take Your Work Calls in a Designated Work Space
One way to ensure that your calls go well is to designate a work space. This will allow you to take calls in a controlled environment (or at the very least, an environment that you’re familiar with) so that you can focus on the call, rather than the distractions around you. If you enjoy working from the coffee shop down the street, try and pick a quiet corner away from other customers, if possible. Or consider taking calls from a home office, or in your car (ideally not while driving, though if you must, be sure to use hands-free calling). A designated work space will help you work.
Use Web Conferences to Collaborate on Work Calls with Others
Even if you don’t intend to use the video functionality of a web conferencing application like Webex, Join.Me, or Zoom, you may still find that they offer a number of benefits. For example, you can chat and send personal messages simultaneously, include attachments, drop in helpful links for cross-referencing, and more easily notate your conversation by copying and pasting pertinent information. All in all, web conferencing apps are great collaboration tools that could help improve your work calls and make them more effective.
Work Call Involve Video Conferencing? Have a Good Internet Connection!
For those of you who do plan on using Skype or Google Hangouts for its video conferencing functionality, be sure that you have a fast and reliable Internet connection before hopping on the call. Video conferencing requires a lot of bandwidth, so you likely don’t want to rely on your wireless connection – that is, not until a 5G network is in place. Until that day comes, use a proven and fast Wi-Fi connection, preferably a private network with as few users as possible. Remember, the more people on a given network, the slower your connection will be. This means that Starbucks may not be the best place for your video call.
Be Prepared, Organized, and Punctual for Your Work Calls
Just as would be expected for an in-person meeting, you need to be prepared, organized, focused, and punctual for a work call. Call in five minutes early, even if it means being the first person on the call. Better to be safe than sorry, as the old saying goes. And have all of the materials that you may need to discuss the day’s topic. Be prepared to ask and answer questions, have note-taking materials on hand (whether pen and paper, or a laptop), and pay attention. It can be easy to become distracted on work calls when you’re not attending the meeting in person – don’t make this mistake. Be cognizant of who is talking, what the topic is, and your role in the conversation, so that you can participate rather than merely spectate.
When Taking Work Calls, Be Mindful of Ambient Noise Levels
Ambient noise can kill a phone conversation, which is why it’s always a good idea to find someplace quiet for your work calls. If you find that you’re in a particularly noisy area, considering muting your phone until you’re called upon to respond. You can then un-mute your phone temporarily to chime in. Alternatively, you could buy a phone that features machine learning. Mobile processors like the Snapdragon 835 are designed to understand the audio in your surrounding environment. This technology can train your device to help detect and eliminate background noise, predict voice patterns, and more, helping deliver crisp, clear audio on your device. If you can’t find a quiet place to take your call, find a device that can make the background noise go away!
Put the Work Call First!
Really, when it comes to work call etiquette, you could argue that there’s a simple mantra to follow: put the call first. Pay attention, stay engaged, be mindful of the other callers’ time, and stay focused on the topic at hand. Do that and the rest will fall into place. Still, following the tips outlined above is certainly a good start, so take them into consideration too! Whatever works for you will work for your call.