The Dos and Don’ts of Building Trust in A Remote Work TeamPublié le 23 April 2020
We want to work with people who we trust. While this seems obvious, establishing trust in the workplace is sometimes easier said than done. Research conducted by SHRM, found that while 61% of employees believed that trust between themselves and senior management was very important, only 33% were satisfied with the current level of trust. Over two-thirds of employees aren’t completely sure that they can trust managers and company leaders. This is worrying enough in a regular workplace, but this problem becomes exponentially harder to tackle while many people are currently working from home. Separation from our colleagues makes it more difficult to form bonds of trust, which can have a negative impact on the workplace community. It is very important to build and maintain trust in a remote work team.
The Dos and Don’ts of Building Trust in A Remote Work Team
Do Be Honest
Honesty is the foundation of trust. Telling the truth at all times is key to building trust in a remote work team, and a regular work team for that matter. If you withhold information or hide facts, your colleagues will start to second guess you and question your decisions. Keeping them in the dark serves no purpose, and only makes it more difficult for everyone to do their jobs effectively and correctly. If colleagues ask you a question, provide them with the most up-to-date information that you can. If you don’t know the answer, be honest about that as well. It may be frustrating to not have an answer to a question, but it’s even more frustrating to deliberately be left in the dark.
Don’t Conceal Information
When working from home, it’s more important than ever that we all have the latest information regarding group projects, our tasks and the organisation as a whole. 60% of employees have stated it is difficult to get their colleagues to share important info, a statistic that can’t be allowed to continue while working from home. Things can change rapidly, but once decisions are made they need to be communicated to the employees and colleagues as soon as possible. Anything less will make it seem as though important information is being concealed or purposefully delayed. With everyone in their own spaces, it’s very easy for someone to feel left out of the loop, a situation that can quickly be frustrating. Sharing information is proof that there is nothing to hide, and this openness is key to building and maintaining trust in remote work teams.
Do Set Clear Goals
Work for the sake of work is not beneficial for anyone. It is very important that every organization have clearly defined goals, whether we’re in the workplace or working from home. Not only does this help to build clear schedules and deadlines, it gives everyone a reason to work. When everyone understands goals and objectives, they won’t spend any time wondering what exactly it is that they are working towards, or if their tasks actually have an impact on the organization. With a clear goal in mind, we will all work towards it, trusting each other to collaborate and do their part so the team reaches our objectives.
Micromanagement is always bad. It can’t be said any more bluntly. There is no quicker way to destroy any trust that exists among your team than to second guess their every decision. When you micromanage someone, you are telling them that they won’t be able to make a correct decision on their own. If that’s the case, not only will they start to resent this constant interference, they will begin to wonder why you hired them in the first place. Trust the people you work with to do their jobs well on their own. It sounds simple, but it can be hard to put into practice.
Do Check In
It’s important to build and maintain personal connections and relationships with our colleagues, even when we are working in different places. We are more motivated to work hard and perform at our best when we are collaborating with people we know, respect and trust. One way that we can maintain these relationships is checking in on our colleagues one-on-one. Meetings are important and necessary, but spending the extra time to make sure our colleagues are doing alright will go a long way to build trust in a remote work team.
Feeling alone and isolated is one of the most common side effects of working from home, and that is under normal circumstances. Given the uncertainty that many businesses are facing right now, it’s important that our colleagues know that we are still here to support them and collaborate. Whether we are leading a virtual team or working as part of one, it’s important that we be as present for our colleagues as possible. We can do this by responding to their requests, or at least acknowledging them, and not suddenly disappearing. A recent survey found that 60% of people reported not responding to work emails, and this simply cannot happen if a remote work team is to function correctly. If we know that we will be unavailable at a certain time — or if sudden tech malfunctions prevent us from working — we need to let our remote team colleagues know right away. This helps us to trust each other, and know that we are not going to suddenly be left to our own devices when we need support and collaboration.
Do Maintain Values
It’s important for every company and organization to have a clear set of values from the day it is founded. These values shape the organizational identity and have a large impact on how they interact with employees and the public. Having clear and strong values is very important to employees, more than half of whom would prefer to work at an organization with a strong company culture based on values even it meant receiving a lower salary. Just because we find ourselves in different environments while working from home, it does not mean that we can abandon our core values. Doing so will lead employees to question the basic identity of the company, seriously eroded the trust that has been built.
Don’t Lose Patience
Transitioning to working from home is not easy. We have to adjust to completely different working conditions, adapt to changed customer expectations, and re-learn how to collaborate with our colleagues, all while thinking about the daily uncertainty everyone is facing. Stress and anxiety is now part of our day-to-day lives, and even though we know this will not last forever, it still has an effect on us. We need to be patient with our colleagues and ourselves. Losing patience means also losing the level of trust we have built.
Building and maintaining trust in remote work teams is vital to making a successful transition to working from home. Not only will this make for a better work environment, but it will also help us maintain supportive relationships with our colleagues. We have to accept that each of us will have good days and bad day, productive days and unproductive days. All we can do is trust that each of us are doing the best that we can.