Negotiating Tip #50:
Protect Your Secrets when Working Remotely
An obvious problem with working from home is when your family life intrudes on your work associates – the kids fighting in the background, your wall decor grabbing all the attention (those Star Wars figurines may detract from how serious you look), the construction noise at home drowning out the work conversation.
But the flip side also matters, namely, how you can protect your firm’s secrets. If your kids or your spouse hear you talking about some confidential deal that is in the works, they may not realize how vital it is to keep that information to themselves. Small children are not great at keeping secrets. Your computer screen may have several windows open at once, and that means the other party may see who else it is you have been negotiating with – or worse, what your boss wrote you about how much of a discount is appropriate.
Follow some simple rules:
Get a webcam cover and use it whenever you are not using the camera.
Declutter digitally before sharing your screen, that is, shut all the other windows.
If your family is all around, consider “walk and talk” – go outside for a confidential conversation. Remember to stay out of earshot of your neighbors.
Have a private locked space which is not available to anyone else in your family. Do not leave important work papers where your kids or your spouse can stumble across them.
For more on this, see Alexandra Samuel, “Privacy Tips for Remote Workers,” Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2020, behind a pay wall at https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-protect-your-privacy-when-working-from-home-11607349610 .