Defining professionalism during COVID-19 has become a challenge for many people. The pandemic has changed the concept of professionalism now that many people are working from home. The potential for confusion only increases with the chance that remote work will become the norm even once things calm down.

The truth is, it can be tricky to maintain a high level of professionalism when working from home. That brings us back to the definition of professionalism. How can we define professionalism when our lives are in distress? Let’s look at what has changed professionalism and how to approach the concept now.

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What Hasn’t Changed?

Whether you’re working from home or not, several aspects of professional behavior have remained constant. You are still expected to:

  • Show up to meetings and appointments on time
  • Respond to communications promptly
  • Talk comfortably with others without being overly familiar
  • Communicate clearly and courteously
  • Prepare ahead of time
  • Dress professionally (during video calls or the occasional in-person meeting)

A More Casual Approach to the Workday

The once largely unquestioned tradition of a 9-5 workday with very professional clothes and neat cubicles is rapidly falling out of style. Working from home allows employees to relax in a familiar environment during the workday. Many even say they are far more efficient and productive when working at home. Others may also feel more at-ease around their coworkers as they interact in less formal settings.

However, none of these changes negate the ongoing need for professionalism. Keeping a cubicle clean or a shirt neatly ironed may not be as important as they once were. However, professional behavior and prompt communications still matter immensely. Employees are still expected to take their jobs seriously no matter where they’re working.

Setting Boundaries

None of your colleagues know what your house or kids look like. But now, you’re getting forced to share your family or how you live. To keep your professional and personal life separate, you need to set boundaries. So, how can you keep your life private?

The most effective way to keep your life private is by working out your schedule. One common problem faced by remote workers is the risk of letting their job take over their life. Don’t let that happen! Stick to defined work hours and set your tasks aside at the end of the day. If possible, set up a designated work station that you can walk away from when the day is done. Keep your work-life balance healthy.

Long-Term Expectations of Professionalism

Companies and employees’ perspective on professionalism during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed significantly. With many people working from home to stop the coronavirus’s spread, the definition of professionalism has changed. We expect new ideas of professionalism to stay with us for a longer time.

Contact us to learn more about professionalism in a time of crisis.