There are jobs in every industry that have remote options today. The U.S. Census reports that 13.4 million of the working population telecommutes at least one day per week. A smaller number work from home completely. Whether small business owners or full-time workers that utilize their own office space, it is becoming more common for these workers to complete their tasks in physical isolation – though communication makes remote collaboration possible.
In most home worker cases, an occasional face-to-face meeting with the boss, co-workers, or clients will happen. Like anything in life, home-based workers must realign their work habits and personalities when thrown back in with the rest of their co-workers or clients.
When you meet in person, you want to impress your boss and co-workers right away, as well as any clients, and show them immediately why you are still the right person for the job. Make sure you take the following suggestions into account when preparing for your next in-person meeting:
- Dress appropriately. When you work from home, your professional attire may start to become lacking. Make sure that you have a few professional looks on hand for in-person meetings. It’s not just about fashion; research has shown that people have just seven seconds to make a good first impression. Even if your office culture calls for business casual, make sure you look polished and professional.
- Come prepared. At home, you may have the luxury of receiving questions via email – giving you time to find the answers and return them in an organized way. In the business world, it is assumed that you will show up ready to tackle the issues at hand without stalling the process or making your colleagues wait for you. Anticipate what you will be asked and be ready to answer quickly.
- Unplug. There are certainly appropriate moments to be on your laptop, tablet, or even your phone during in-person work meetings – but outside those clear times, walk away from your technology. Use the time to take advantage of the human connection. Shake hands. Ask questions. Even if you are a long-time employee or contractor, infrequent in-person meetings are a time to reestablish yourself as an amiable colleague and one who is an integral part of the team.
- Be social. If there is an opportunity to spend time with your colleagues or clients outside work meetings, take advantage of it. Accept invitations to dinner or maybe even sightseeing. You do not need to spend every non-working second with your clients or co-workers but pick a few times to step outside your working role to show your human side.
Workers can quickly become accustomed to their at-home environments and fall into a comfort zone. It’s one of the perks of working from home but it is important to shed that skin when face-to-face meetings arise.
How do you prepare for important in-person meetings?
Photo via Flickr/Creative Commons
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.