Quarantine Etiquette | Alyssa J Freitas: Quarantine Etiquette

May 6, 2020

Quarantine Etiquette

We all knew this was coming, right? I haven't written an etiquette post since last year when we chatted about Friendsgiving - it feels like a lifetime ago. So what's been on my etiquette mind (since it's certainly not travel, or concerts, or going out with friends)? Quarantine, of course! This is going to be a combination of working from home and going-out-only-when-necessary tips.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here are the etiquette tips you need to know during quarantine

Working from home

Be mindful when other people in your house are working too. This can take many forms. For Joe and me, it's about being in separate rooms when on calls and taking turns between the living room and bedroom. Maybe you're balancing taking care of kids with your spouse or managing different work hours than others in your home. Etiquette tells us that our whole goal is to put others at ease, so make sure you're communicating and asking what everyone else needs to be productive, and you express what you need too!

Plan together time and alone time. It can be a lot to share the same space 24/7, so make sure to schedule when you're going to be together and alone. What meals will you eat together, what nights will you play games versus going your separate ways? This will help you set boundaries and make sure that everyone is getting a good balance of interaction and recharge time. 

On video conferences, stay engaged, mute yourself when not speaking if you have background noise in your home, and be respectful of time. If you're new to video conferencing, it can feel strange to talk to people when you aren't in the same room and there are new etiquette tips to keep in mind:
  • Default to having your video on. It helps people understand your message better when they can see your body language and can help you feel more connected. 
  • Keep your background distraction free, as much as your space will allow. I've created my own standing desk by putting a breakfast tray on top of my bureau - get creative!
  • Tell other people immediately if you're having trouble hearing them. Although you may interrupt them, it's better than letting them talk for a while and then they have to repeat themselves. 
  • If you're sharing your screen and presenting, ask if others on the call can see everything ok. You may need to make your presentation larger and zoom in.
  • Treat this like a normal meeting - feel free to engage in some small talk, but get to your agenda and end on time. People may be in back to back calls, and you don't want to be the one to delay their day - and you might be in that situation yourself!

When you're out and about

Wear a mask. Please. I take morning walks and will admittedly pull my mask down when there is no one else in sight on the street so I can take an uninhabited breath. However, I cannot abide the joggers who run right past you, panting without a mask, or those people who think that just because they're in a park, they won't come in contact with anyone. You have to use your best judgement wherever you are in the world (I'm speaking from someone in the epicenter of the outbreak), but the main point here is not to make others uncomfortable with your proximity and lack of protection - which is really just disregard for others. 

Respect the rules, and respect other people's space. Even if it may not seem like a big deal to you to walk closely to others on the street, or cross the aisle in the super market next to someone, they might be at greater risk than you, and you don't know it. Again the takeaway here is to have regard for others.

General tips to think about

Maintain positivity and avoid complaining. When you're having small talk, avoid complaining. Everyone knows that these are unusual times and that things aren't great, but try to share uplifting anecdotes and positivity. You have the power to control your mindset and influence others, so make it good! 

Give others (and yourself) more grace. When a co-worker is struggling to lift their weight or your best friend isn't chatting as much as normal, take a breath and think about how everyone is challenged right now. Instead of getting frustrated, ask and think about things you can do to help. The same goes for you! When you find your mind wandering or your motivation low, ask yourself how you can help instead of berating yourself.

What other tips do you have? How can we keep etiquette - the regard for others - at the center during this?

-Alyssa J

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