- Invest in a fast internet connection, especially if you have video calls. A good connection looks more professional. You don't want to be the one who's always derailing meetings. Close down large software and competing virtual meeting programs while on video calls to minimize glitches.
- Communicate. Don't assume your manager or your team knows what you're doing. Work out loud when you can, sharing your progress with your team as you go. And if you don't send your boss regular updates, that's a good idea too.
- Be disciplined in your work habits. This means keeping a regular schedule and being available when your colleagues need you. For some people, being disciplined about work also means dressing professionally every day.
- Set up an "office." You don't have to have a separate room devoted to work, but it can be helpful to have a dedicated space that you think of as where you "go to work." (The jokes about your "tough commute" will never get old.) If you don't have a room you can use, carve out a distraction-free zone where you can get some privacy, like the corner of a bedroom where you can close the door.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you're on video, try to keep your background uncluttered. If you're working in the bedroom, angle your desk so the bed doesn't show up on video — especially if it's unmade. You can also try out one of the Duke-branded Zoom backgrounds available on this website. If you have a window behind you, you're going to show up as a dark silhouette, so be sure you have some light on your face.
- Know your audience. We've all seen that video where the toddler wanders into the room while dad is on a high-stakes video call. There are times when it's perfectly fine for a child or pet to make an appearance (in fact, at times this can help build important personal relationships with close team members). But for all those other times, be sure to keep your office door closed — and securely latched. And keep in mind, the mute button is your friend.
*Adapted from Fidelity Investments Employee Value of Benefits Research