4 best practices for fostering a culture of trust within your remote team

With team members dispersed or working from home, building two-way trust can bring its own unique set of challenges. Here are some top tips.

April 27, 2020
Angelique Parungao

When it comes to managing remote teams, the first concern that often arises for managers is how to trust that employees will remain accountable and productive with their tasks. This question often breeds anxiety in the virtual workplace. It can easily lead to micromanaging from leaders, while employees can feel pressured to overwork themselves around the clock to prove they are reliable.

Needless to say, this situation isn’t ideal for anyone involved and can result in an overall toxic team environment. Instead, managers should strive to build a culture of trust, which research shows results in employees feeling empowered and engaged to work for you. According to Great Place to Work Report, a company with high-trust culture has turnover rates that are 50% lower than industry competitors. Here are our top tips for getting started:

Be transparent with your remote team

Making openness and transparency the norm in your team is even more crucial when working remotely. With everyone working from different locations, it can be challenging to have full visibility over things like task progress and blockers. To break down these invisible walls, host regular virtual meetings and company-wide All Hands on an employee platform, where updates can be shared in real-time to all relevant members and any concerns can be directly addressed. You can utilize video conferencing so everyone can see you and boost that sense of personal connection.

Set-up tasks and deadlines properly

Creating a clear set of tasks with proper deadlines can help your teams understand what you need from them. It enables employee involvement and improves their decision-making skills as it lets them decide on how they will manage their own time for work, while they deal with their responsibilities at home. As a remote team, you can make use of project management tools with delegation and due dates features so you can easily assign tasks, providing visibility across your team on what they need to do and progress of their work in real-time. 

Provide various channels of communication

Communicating regularly definitely helps improve team relationships. Staff are more likely to feel comfortable to voice their concerns or raise any issues regarding their work if there is the culture of an open door within the team. By providing various avenues to connect, these discussions can take place in the channel that works best for the topic at hand, such as a peer-to-peer internal discussion forum or a direct one-on-one voice call with the manager. Some remote employees might feel comfortable to talk through video calls, while others prefer to use voice calls. Meanwhile, others might rather send a written chat. Regardless of which method is preferred, having various forms of communication available boosts the likelihood of team members speaking up. 

Take time to get to know each other

Trust thrives in a company where teams spend time to know each other well. So how can employers replicate this virtually with everyone dispersed? We suggest encouraging remote employees to socialize online and reach out to their fellow dispersed team members. Create discussion hubs where staff can drive the discussion and talk about off-work topics. Encourage casual non-work related chat topics or calls that solely aim to replicate that water cooler chats that would happen in the physician workplace.Another way is to host online parties where everyone can let loose in the comfort of their own homes and mingle—despite virtually—with their colleagues. By creating a more relaxed environment between all the hard work, teammates are more likely to feel engaged and connected with each other, a positive boost that undoubtedly spills over to their work performance. 

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