Today, trust is arguably the most important thing an employer can give an employee, and vice versa. Without it, uncertainty and doubt are allowed to run rampant in the workplace and hamper productivity in all sorts of ways. With it, your team feels like a team and works with a high level of confidence and creativity, day after day.
But what about when some (or all) of your team is working remotely? How do you build trust without daily face-to-face interactions? It is possible. And with the number of remote workers only increasing in all kinds of organizations, it’s important that leaders have a plan to foster the trust of their remote employees.
Here are a few tips for doing just that:
Look in the mirror. Any serious attempt at organizational change starts with you. Are you in a position to suggest these types of changes? In this case, are you a trusting person? Or are you prone to micromanaging? Micromanagement never was an advisable practice for getting the most out of workers. Now, it’s the kiss of death.
Touch base regularly. Though you can’t see their physical body, it’s still a person on the other end of that email. Touch base with them on a regular basis. Ask how things are going, or if they have any concerns. Compliment them on specific projects. Also, make time for a call or video chat. Hearing your tone and seeing your expressions and gestures is helpful for conveying trust.
Use project management tools to ensure accountability. Some of what makes distrust fester between remote and in-office employees is that sometimes the work is invisible. It can be easy to become convinced that remote workers are “slacking” merely because you can’t actually see them. If you’ve done your due diligence in the hiring phase, this is rarely the case. But if you use some of the great project management tools that are out there, calming those fears will be much easier.
Have you used a specific tool or tactic to help encourage trust between in-office and remote workers? Are you having a challenge right now with employees and trust issues? Let me know in the comments or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.