Working Virtually: How to Build Trust in Remote Teams

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According to the Harvard Business Review , 40% of surveyed supervisors said they weren’t confident in managing remote teams. In addition to that jobs data,two-thirds  of managers still don’t trust remote team members.

However, with more and more companies shifting to a remote environment, managers are being forced to trust their employees. But how do you navigate the new normal and build trust in your remote teams?

Keep reading to learn how you can foster trust with your employees and have them trust you as well. 

Communicate Effectively

Communication is one of the essential foundations for trust, and it’s even more important for remote teams. Without good communication, that trust will start to break down. 

If you find that your employees don’t know how to communicate well, you might want to train employees to communicate effectively. This training can focus on communication tips like learning how to set up meetings, knowing how to write better emails, or managing an instant message service. 

You should have your employees let people know if they’re out of the office or going to be taking a break, so people know when to expect they’re back online. 

In addition to that, communicate how you’ll be measuring their performance. This can make it easier for employees to realize what performance and consistency they’ll need to focus on to make sure that they satisfy their managers’ expectations. 

When employees know what’s expected of them, they’re more likely to understand what they need to do and communicate if they have problems with it. 

Give Trust to Get Trust

While it can be challenging to trust your employees, you’ll want them to trust you as well. Remote work requires a lot of faith, and you can build a foundation for that by showing your employees that they can trust you. 

Team leaders need to have their actions show that they trust employees. For example, if your team is still getting their work done and meeting their deadlines, try not to micromanage them. Don’t worry about how many hours they’re working each day or if they’re taking longer to do a task. 

Give each team member a chance to show their abilities by giving them projects that they would be great at. You’ll want to challenge them but not give them tasks when they have no bandwidth.

While some companies may want to install software on the employees’ computers to see if they’re actually active on the keyboard or how long they’re away from the computer, this can hurt employee productivity and morale.

When employees don’t feel like you trust them, they won’t trust you, and they may start looking for another job to apply to.  

Be Transparent

Another way to build trust is to be transparent. It can be challenging to keep everyone updated with a virtual team, but you should hold regular company meetings to update everyone and ensure employees are on the same page. 

Transparency will improve your company’s credibility, and it reduces the chance of rumors or miscommunication. 

To be transparent, you might want to avoid having communication and memos happen at different times. For example, if you tell your sales department about a policy change but don’t tell your IT team, word will travel, and people will start to panic even if the information they heard wasn’t accurate. 

When this happens, people will start to lose trust in the company. When teams are in the loop, they don’t feel like they have to be defensive. And again, when they trust you more, you’re more willing to trust them as well. 

Have Regular Team Meetings

Since talking with your team in person won’t be possible, you may want regular online meetings. Have a meeting with your team at least once a week, and hold individual one-to-one meetings with other team members.

That meeting is a great time that will always be on your calendar to remind you to check in with your team. It can be hard to remember to do so with a remote team when everyone is working from their own place. 

It can also be a great way to get to know your employees as much as possible over Zoom or phone or video calls. 

In addition to that, try to hold regular team-building exercises. You can have a Zoom happy hour, have a trivia challenge over Google MeetUp, or schedule frequent coffee breaks online. When you get to know your remote employees better, you’re more likely to know them as a person who will help you trust them. 

Give Employees More Freedom

The truth is that if your employees have more freedom, they’re more likely to be productive. According to one study , remote workers ended up working 1.4 more days each month. This rounded out to about 16.8 days per year compared to people who worked in the office.

This proves that even if you don’t have as much control of remote employees as you would with in-office employees, they’ll still be able to get most of their work done and possibly even take on more work!

Just because an employee takes a five-minute break to fold the laundry or take their dog out for a quick walk doesn’t mean they won’t get all of their work done. 

Managers need to resist controlling their remote employees and let team members work on their projects and deadlines. Suppose you have remote employees working and consistently missing deadlines or never getting any remote work done. In that case, you should evaluate their performance without destroying your trust in other employees who are getting their job done.

One thing that will help you resist that control is focusing on the long-term goals and deadlines. 

Hire Your Remote Team Today

Do you feel like you’re ready to hire a remote team? Since 9 in 10 people  want to be working remotely, you may need to adjust your business structure to attract and retain top talent.

Building your remote team can be a long process, but can help speed it up. We have machine learning software to source ideal candidates for your open positions. We also have recruiters that you can hire on an as-needed basis to help your business grow.

If you’re interested in any of these solutions, contact us today  so we can get you started on hiring right away!


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By Alyssa Harmon