Working remotely can be a dream come true, but there are a whole new set of job skills you need to learn to do the job efficiently. Besides navigating your own scheduling and potentially learning new programs, basic telecommuter manners is a big one. One place where this becomes evident is when you try to survive a work call in a loud environment–such as a home with toddlers or a busy coffee shop.
If there is too much noise on your end of the phone, it cannot only be distracting, but potentially make you appear unprofessional to your coworkers or clients. Sometimes things happen outside of your control, but most of the time there is a way to work around the loud distractions in your work environment.
Here we provide just a few of the very best tips work call tips for telecommuters.
Eliminate whatever noise possible
Take the steps to eliminate any noise possible to decrease distraction for both you and the professional on the other end. If, for example, you’re in a coffee shop or restaurant, consider stepping outside where it’s quieter. If you’re expecting a call, then you can always try to sit in your parked vehicle.
Parents at home should put dogs outside and aim to distract kids with something both entertaining and quiet.
Learn how to mute yourself
All cell phones and most calling software have a mute setting. If you’re listening to the other person speak, just press the mute button until it’s necessary for you to respond. This ensures that any background noise will not disrupt the phone call, or make it appear as though you aren’t paying attention.
Speak loudly and clearly
We don’t mean that you should yell over any background noise while taking a work call. Instead, speak in a loud speaking voice (“inside voices”) and enunciate your words clearly so the other person can be sure to hear you properly. If there is any important information being passed along, take a moment to repeat that information back to your boss or peer.
Use earbuds with an integrated microphone
Most smartphones come with a set of earbuds that have an integrated microphone, but you can also purchase a decent, affordable pair almost anywhere. While this may not cancel out all of the noise around you, it does muffle a considerable amount. This solution is perfect for when you’re walking down a busy street or sitting in a noisy coffee shop.
Apologize ahead of time
While it is always best to make every effort possible to avoid disruptive background noises, sometimes there is only so much you can do. If the caller knows you work from home, it is very likely that they will understand if once in a while (not all the time) you find yourself in noisy places.
The best thing to do in these situations is make a brief apology ahead of time. It doesn’t need to be long or extensive. A simple “I apologize if there are is any background noise, but I’m… [in a coffee shop, walking down the street, etc.].” Or even something as simple as “I apologize if there is any disruption in the background,” and then more forward without dwelling on an explanation.
Keep in mind, however, that it is usually best to avoid the need for apologies if the work call is an introductory call. Longtime clients or associates will likely turn a blind eye here or there, but first impressions are vital. Thankfully, introductory calls are often scheduled so you can find a quiet place before the call comes in.