build trust with remote teams

Remote work is becoming more and more popular, especially after the 2020 pandemic. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, remote work is up 50% from pre-Covid times. 

Keep in mind, however, that COVID-19 is not the cause of remote work. This sector of the workforce has been on the rise since the 90’s. It was only a few years ago that 43% of American workers were already working remotely, even if it was just once or twice a week, based on a Gallup poll. COVID-19 just pushed it over the edge, which may or may not have been a blessing in disguise.

One thing is for certain though, as the climate of the workforce shifts to home-based positions, it may leave business owners, bosses, and hiring managers uneasy about the trust factor of remote employees. 

“Over half of CEO’s feel their company’s growth is threatened by a lack of internal trust.”

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On the contrary, several studies have found that companies are actually benefiting from their employees working from home. If you think about it, it actually makes sense depending on the industry and position.

If your company is entirely remote, you should have little to no overhead costs. Leasing an office space and electronic equipment can mean huge savings in the long run! Additionally, you can extend your talent pool, hiring incredible qualified workers from all over the country.

Furthermore, your employees most likely will be happier. They can sleep in. They don’t have to worry about traffic. They can work in their pajamas or casual clothes. And so many other benefits! As you probably know, happy employees are more productive – 13% more productive according to the University of Oxford

Here’s what else we know about remote work:

  • The feeling of burnout was reduced in half, according to a Stanford University study.
  • 77% of workers, from a study conducted by ConnectSolutions, showed an increase in productivity.
  • From the ConnectSolutions study, 30% of workers surveyed said they got more done in less time.
  • Over half of remote workers are taking less time off, including sick days, and are more apt to staying with the company, based on the ConnectSolutions study.
  • 64% of remote workers say they feel more motivated to work according to Pew Research Center.
  • An overwhelming majority of remote workers, based on the Pew Research Center survey, didn’t have significant problems transitioning to remote work.

Considering these findings, going remote may actually boost your business to the next level. You could be earning more, spending less, and creating a happier place to work. That’s the company I aspire to build at Today’s Local Media.

Obviously, trust is a huge factor in any type of relationship and it takes time. But instead of going at it blindly and throwing your caution to the wind, we’ve provided some tips on how to build trust with your remote employees.

7 Tips on How to Build Trust with Your Remote Employees

  • Clearly identify expectations: Have this in writing. Go over it with your employee – maybe even as early as the interview process. Ensure they understand your standards and expectations, and allow them to ask questions without fear.
  • Open-line of communication: If it’s not a regular phone call or video call, try out some chat apps, such as Slack, Flock, or WhatsApp. Although, a good mix of these will probably be most beneficial for developing trust. 
  • Informal communication: Don’t let your chats always encompass work. Be a real person. Be authentic. Showing a little bit of who you are and opening a crack into your personal life will soften the relationships with your employees.
  • Timesheets: This can show your employees you’re serious about work time productivity.
  • Assume goodwill: Again, you don’t have to throw caution to the wind but starting off your business relationship by completely not trusting them won’t look good or feel good. 
  • Be supportive: This includes being caring, sympathetic, helpful, friendly, and the like. If you’re not a well-liked boss or manager because you display opposite traits than the ones listed, you and your rules won’t be respected.
  • Transparency: Trust is a two-way street. If you’re not open and honest with them, what makes you think they’ll be open and honest with you or even want to be for that matter?

As a business owner, you still may be wary of the trust factor you may have with your remote workers. You may have heard horror stories. You may have experienced a dishonest employee. And ultimately, there are great points to be made that may leave you skeptical.

Like all things that change, especially drastically, it may take some time to adjust. Based on the facts, this is a business alternative that you shouldn’t ignore. At the very least, consider the option.