Professionalism and GIFs: What I’ve learned about employee relations as a remote worker
What happens when you’re working in an environment with more opportunities to send your superiors emojis — than to give them handshakes?
Right out of college, I embraced the remote, self-employed lifestyle — and part of this was working for Kittr!
If I can help it, I do my entire shift in my pajamas. Sometimes, on Fridays right as my “shift” is ending, I even grab a beer from the fridge and sip on it until the work week officially comes to a close.
Working remotely is certainly a different individually personalized atmosphere, but the most notable atmospheric shift is in your relationships with your coworkers — especially your boss.
Why you should cut your bosses some Slack
Many companies, even those who work in a traditional office setting utilize Slack, or other forms of instant messaging to communicate.
I would argue though this group-chat interface is important for organized, instantaneous productivity in a physical office space, working from home and communicating with your contractors in this fashion is essential.
Since I started using this as my primary method of communication with my superiors, my perspective on the boss/employee relationship has shifted greatly.
The idea of walking into my boss’ offices at previous jobs was one of the most intimidating marches I could make. Even at my previous job where I saw my superiors also as friends, it took a while to months and months to overcome the fear.
Sitting in a small chair facing a commanding desk is not a comforting feeling. Working remotely, however, those stomach-churning fears of meetings in are totally eliminated.
Don’t think companies should look at your social media? Think again!
This idea transcends into full-blown team building.
I’ve worked with several professionals in this capacity and being able to tag them in tweets with memes is a luxury I’ve never had. This bonding via social media I believe is crucial in decreasing the imaginary mileage between employers and employees.
Chatting with my boss now is one of the simplest aspects of my work day. I message when I have a thought, no matter the time of day. I use emojis and GIFs to translate my emotional tone. It’s even gotten to the point where if I am scurrying around trying to complete tasks, I don’t always capitalize at the start of my sentences.
How can this behavior possibly be professional?
This thought may sound sacrilegious to traditional office workers.
But, to me, it’s been a revolutionary insight into workplace dynamics. Being able to freely and casually talk to my boss remotely has not only made me more comfortable being able to approach them when I have inquiries or want to submit progress updates, it’s made the daunting concept of authority seem rather far away in the most positive sense of the idea.
The fact working remotely has decreased this distance, has decreased the anxiety that comes along with approaching your boss, has made me more confident in talking to authority figures altogether.
The average time it would take me to cultivate a relationship with my superiors where I wasn’t at least in some part nervous was cut drastically. Working remotely has made me realize this is not a singular occurrence on Earth. Discussing, critiquing, and even joking with your bosses is possible despite their job title, no matter the setting.
Although, I would not have learned this as quickly had I not worked from home.