There’s no denying the many benefits of having a remote workforce. From being a more green way to conduct business, to being able to attract (and retain) top-tier talent, to saving big bucks on eliminated office costs such as rent, electricity, and so on, having a remote team makes sense for many companies, particularly in dollars and cents.
That said, it can be a learning curve for managers of remote teams to learn how to create and nurture a trusting work environment. Without that everyday face-to-face contact, remote workers can feel isolated and become disengaged from work, their fellow remote colleagues, and even the company as a whole. Thankfully, there are ways to build and maintain remote team trust. Here’s how.
Let’s say that your company plans to acquire a smaller competitor. But if workers are only hearing whisperings regarding this merger—and nothing official from corporate—they might feel left out of the loop and not feel connected to the company. That’s why it’s crucial for managers to keep their remote teams abreast of any and all news regarding the company, including plans for the future. Crystal clear communication is truly the cornerstone of any remote organization, so make sure that your workers stay informed about the goings-on within the company. This can help workers feel as if they are still in the know and also get excited about the company’s future plans.
Schedule frequent check-ins
When you work remotely, it’s easy to get comfy in your cozy home office and forget to reach out to your staff as often as you should. Scheduling check-ins every few months or so (some remote managers opt to have them quarterly) can help pinpoint any potential problems and also ensure that your remote workers know what is expected of them as it relates to the job.
Create an open-door policy
With a traditional brick-and-mortar business, it’s easy to keep an eye on your team—literally. The same can’t be said for remote work, though, and issues can develop for a while before they’re noticed. So make it a point to have an open-door policy with your remote team. Let them know that they can come to you with both professional—and personal—issues. By knowing that they can discuss a problem with you, workers will feel secure and you’ll ultimately build trust with your remote workers.
Show the value
Everyone wants to feel as if they are an important part of the company. And since you can’t physically pat your employees on the back in a remote work environment, make sure that you give virtual high fives instead! Spotlight a worker’s accomplishments in the company’s newsletter, or give them a shout-out during the next all-company Skype meeting. Knowing they are an integral part of the organization can go a long way in feeling valued and appreciated by the company.
Sure, your company is a remote one, but is it flexible? Sometimes, remote companies claim to be flex-friendly but might not be. If your organization prides itself on its flexible work policy for staffers and then still wants workers to be at their desks from 9-to-5, that can create a sense of animosity among your remote workforce. So if your company has a remote work policy, put it into practice—starting with yourself. If your remote team sees you utilizing your flex, then they will be inspired to as well.
It’s easy to create a trusting environment with your remote team. Making yourself accessible to your workers will go a long way in creating a remote team that feels invested, inspired, and trusts the company.