Trust in the age of remote work

Trust in the age of remote work

Different industries may face different challenges when they have to manage staff remotely. However, they all share one element that is crucial: trust.

A lack of trust can undo a team. Managers may doubt that their reports are actually working. This can lead to the expectation that employees are always available, creating stress and disrupting employees' work-life balance. The secret in learning to trust remote employees is ensuring good communication.

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  • The simplest way to ensure employees are meeting expectations is to articulate your expectations.
  • Rather than assuming everyone is available, establish the frequency and ideal timing for communication.
  • Determine the best time and means of reaching you during the workday.
  • Daily check-in calls can be helpful to stay up-to-date with what everyone is working on.

Once you've set expectations, stick to them so your team will know what to expect.

In the office, employees are given the tools they need to do their jobs. The same should apply when they work remote. They should have access to the right materials, equipment, and information.

Recreating an office setting also means offering several methods of communication, such as video conferencing.

With employees out of sight, it's essential to address issues promptly.

One good approach is to lead with appreciation. Harsh feedback will likely lead team members to react defensively, rather than taking your comments as constructive. A study found 57% of employees prefer corrective feedback to praise or recognition. Video is also better than a voice call, where body language and facial expressions are lost.

Loneliness is one of the most challenging aspects of working remotely, even among introverts.

Managers should find ways for employees to feel socially connected. For example, leaving open discussion time during meetings or creating fun Slack channels for small talk.

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The challenges of hybrid teams

Most companies embracing remote work also have dedicated headquarters. But remote-ish teams have even more communication and collaboration challenges than fully remote teams.

For example, in hybrid teams, remote employees are often left in the dark. Office workers are often heard, recognized, and promoted, while remote workers are forgotten.

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IDEAS

There is ongoing turbulence in the workplace due to the uncertainties provided by the new virus, resulting in a whole lot of people working from home. Normally the work-from-home policies are established in advance, and employees are trained for the same, but current circumstances are not allowing for any transition time.

  1. Talk about one’s upbringing, hardships and personal history, while keeping it work-appropriate. Getting to know people on a personal level builds trust and connections, as they see a human being and not just a new employee.
  2. Ask for help whenever possible. It shows vulnerability and boosts good feelings among team members. They like being perceived as competent while demonstrating that you are okay with admitting that you don’t know something.
  3. Ask for feedback and take your teammates' opinion whenever possible. You can ask a person having expertise, even if there is no direct work involvement.

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