It's never been easier to work remotely. It's not uncommon for a team of people across the globe to collaborate on projects together without ever meeting face-to-face. This is great for business owners who want to save money and time by outsourcing their projects. Research by Harvard Business Review shows that employees who work from home have higher productivity, are happier, and are less likely to quit. It is, therefore, increasingly common to see business owners go for virtual assistant services or establish an entirely remote team.
But it also means that building trust becomes an essential part of any virtual team collaboration. Building trust isn't just about handing your login information over to someone else; it takes communication, empathy, and shared values for a genuinely trusting relationship to be established.
In this article, you will learn the five pillars of building trust in your virtual team that will help increase productivity, efficiency, and happiness!
Be Transparent And “Over-Communicate” With Your Virtual Team
Sharing information openly with the team is crucial in working together as an effective and efficient unit. Company plans, work schedules, project progress, and task status should be available to all members at any time to work more effectively.
When you work in a remote office, it is crucial to maintain frequent communication with your team members. It’s easy for employees who don’t have as many opportunities to chat on the job to get disengaged or burned out from time spent working remotely. This can happen if they feel like their input doesn't matter and that there isn't enough feedback about how well they're doing at what they do best.
The good news? There are plenty of ways around that! One way would be holding weekly video chats, so your team members feel heard by management and coworkers alike. Catch up with team members individually to learn about their needs, how you can provide better support, and listen to their feedback.
Provide Your Remote Employees With The Right Tools To Support Their Needs
A successful virtual team doesn't happen by accident. It’s an intentional goal with clear goals set in place for how you want your members to communicate, share ideas or assignments collaboratively, and what type of technology solutions will best meet those needs.
Actively listen to what your team members need to do their jobs. To build trust, you’ll need to be generous in providing the proper support and tools for your team to perform their best.
Here are some popular tools for virtual teams:
The Google Workspace will make your life easier by giving you all of the necessary tools for work in one place. Every team member can organize and store their files on Google Drive, manage emails, host virtual meetings, and work with built-in tools like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. With additional features such as a shared calendar and events organizer, you will be able to complete tasks more efficiently than ever before!
Video conferencing tools
When working with a virtual team, you’ll need stable and easy-to-use video conferencing software to ensure smooth communication. Besides Google Meet, other tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Zoho Meeting can help you hold and run smooth video meetings.
To build trust in virtual teams, you’ll need to communicate with team members frequently and make it easy for them to reach one another. With Slack, you can reach someone in your company within seconds. It also integrates well on many other tools such as phone calls and file sharing, which is perfect for virtual collaboration across the office!
Project management tools
No one likes working on a team that doesn't communicate well. But who can blame them when even the simplest of tasks has at least three different ways to be done? With all these confusing methods, it's hard for managers and employees alike to keep track of what needs doing, how many things are open simultaneously, and where everyone is in general.
Luckily, there are project management tools like Trello and Jira with their beautiful boards and Kanban-style layout, which brings everything together beautifully, allowing you to see your progress and this across teams! And don't forget about Asana and Monday.com if you're looking for an easy way to manage projects while keeping tabs on others'.
It's understandable why some managers resort back to micromanaging their subordinates in an attempt to make sure they don’t spend too much time working on something unproductive. Still, it will lose trust and hinder the progress of your company.
A micromanager takes away a person's sense of independence by making it seem like they need constant supervision for things to get done right; this is especially problematic when those interactions are virtual ones from afar rather than face-to-face conversations or meetings.
The old-fashioned way of doing things, like hovering over your employees' shoulders and checking in on them all the time, does not work. Nowadays, people want to feel trusted by their managers to take ownership of tasks without feeling scrutinized or cornered at every turn. Being a manager means trusting your team members and providing feedback only when necessary.
Get To Know Your Virtual Team Members
To build trust in a virtual environment, it is essential to get acquainted with your team members. No matter what business you are in or where your virtual team members come from around the world, it is essential to get to know them personally before any work begins - this way, everyone feels more comfortable with each other.
One way of doing it is to schedule regular catch-ups with team members asking about their lives and get to know them as people before jumping into work talk. Ask about what they like doing outside of work. Remembering we are all human can help build empathy even when you're not meeting face-to-face with another person!
Focus On Outcomes, Not Hours
One of the biggest misconceptions is that time spent at your desk should equate to success, and people are less effective when they’re not working in their office.
While the process is essential, it’s the employee's outcomes that drive the organization. It doesn’t matter how many hours you’ve worked if the outcome is not satisfactory.
To ensure success and productivity at work, you should clearly define expectations from day one of a new employee - this will create better alignment between employees' personal goals and organizational needs.
The key to getting the most out of the workday is focusing on outcomes instead of time spent sitting at a desk. This new reality might mean that early birds or night owls get more done by working when it's quieter in their home office.
Building trust in your virtual team is a process, and it’s not without its challenges. But, by following these five pillars of building trust, you can start to build genuine relationships with your remote workforce that will increase productivity, decrease turnover rates and make for happier employees. Have you tried any of these principles? Let us know how they work out for you!
Guest Author Byline
Gloria is an adventure addict and a growth consultant. She is the growth manager of imBee, a leading communication software that centralizes all instant messaging channels into one powerful inbox. She is also the founder of Venturer which shares tips and resources to help people start their online ventures and grow any online business like a startup. You can get in touch with her via LinkedIn.