4 Smart Strategies for Building Trust in Your Virtual Team
It goes without sayin that the workplace will never be the same again. Remote working is the present and future. Despite the difficulties of managing a virtual team, the beneficial impact it has had on many teams and businesses cannot be overstated. Something that appears to be both a challenge and a chance? Increasing the trust factor within your virtual team.
On one hand, remote work can be viewed as a sign of mutual trust between company and employee. Team members are more inclined to step up when they are given authority to handle their workload in their own way. They might even be more productive if they know their boss doesn’t expect them to work on a set schedule for the entire day. However, this is only in ideal circumstances, and it is predicated solely on the assumption that your remote staff are highly engaged.
Building trust in virtual teams is a difficult task in and of itself. Even more so when you’re working with an outsourced team instead of a remotely located internal team. How do you ensure that your team members trust one another, and how do you communicate that trust so that it becomes ingrained in your remote working culture?
Why is Trust So Important in a Virtual Team?
People who work in high-trust teams state that they:
Experience increased productivity
When a management trusts their staff, they don’t second-guess their decisions. This increases the team’s productivity and makes working more enjoyable.
Deal with less stress
Working in a high-trust setting is far less stressful than working in an environment where team members are constantly doubting one another. Furthermore, if a manager lacks trust, he or she is more likely to micromanage, which adds to the stress.
Require fewer sick days
People’s health suffers greatly as a result of stress. Because high-trust teams are less stressed, team members are less likely to become ill.
Have more constructive energy while working
In high-trust teams, conflicts are much less prevalent. This eliminates the need for team members to waste time squabbling. In a trustworthy setting, there are less emotional drains and it is simpler to be involved and enthusiastic.
Are generally more satisfied
People are more likely to be content with their jobs if they believe they can trust their boss and coworkers. As a result, they have a more positive attitude on life.
For these reasons, among others, it’s fairly obvious that building trust within a virtual team is important. But how do you set about doing it?
Ways to Build Trust in Your Virtual Team
Keep in mind that results aren’t supposed to materialize overnight, and they won’t always be simple. However, if you commit to creating a high trust-environment in your remote team from the start, it will spread throughout the organization.
1. Always Be Transparent
Transparency should be a crucial component of your culture and beliefs if you want to truly develop trust among your remote staff. This entails being open about critical decisions your organization is considering, as well as day-to-day employee expectations.
There is no such thing as over-communicating while leading remote teams; in fact, it is a behavior you should follow.
You risk having disengaged employees if your team is unable to communicate in person. Employees, on the other hand, want to feel that they are vital members of your team and that their work is valuable.
They also want to be treated as valuable assets, which means they expect and deserve transparency in terms of their work, job expectations, and the company’s future.
Here are some examples of situations where you can start implementing transparency right away:
- In your virtual team, go over the dos and don’ts. What information should employees have about their working hours, team members, and other topics?
- Give them outlets to air their grievances or worries. Make it simple to access these options. Then make it obvious when their issues and problems will be addressed.
- Encourage everyone to be open and honest about their working hours. Persons may not work in sync when working in a remote team with people in different time zones. That’s OK. Encourage everyone to share their online hours so that everyone knows when they can expect responses to messages or when it’s okay to take calls and meetings.
2. Make Micromanagement a Thing of The Past
Micromanaging is a tempting option when allowing staff to work from home. It’s understandable: you want to ensure that everyone is working and not wasting time.
In the past, most managers resorted to micromanagement in order to reduce the likelihood of employees wasting their time at work. However, it’s no secret that management tactics from the past don’t always hold up in the present, so it’s critical to avoid micromanaging your remote workers.
Yes, you want to make sure everyone is working and making good use of their time, but micromanagement only serves to make things worse. Employees may believe their leaders and superiors don’t trust them if they witness their team leaders micromanaging them.
People want to know that their managers trust them enough to take ownership of their work and stay on top of their tasks. Hovering over their shoulder all of the time — even and especially digitally — is the surest way to erode that trust.
Empower your employees to take control of their own deadlines and projects to truly manage a high-performing remote team. Maintain open communication and set acceptable deadlines, but never cross the line from managing to micromanaging.
3. Provide Helpful Tools for Your Virtual Team
To execute their jobs properly, employees require the appropriate equipment. Even if a tool isn’t yet in your suite, consider checking in with employees on a regular basis to learn about their needs. After all, new demands may arise among your staff, especially as your firm grows and evolves.
We recommend the following tools for your virtual team:
To develop trust in virtual teams, make it easy for your team to communicate with one another. Slack is a full-featured chat, calling, screen-sharing, and file-sharing platform. It also interfaces with a variety of tools that you may already be using.
Your entire team can use Google Workspace to organize and store files, handle emails, arrange virtual meetings, share calendars and events, and more. It also serves as a comprehensive work suite for daily tasks, with built-in tools such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
Project Management Software
Trello and Asana, Notion, ClickUp, Monday, Wrike, and others are some of the best options available. Depending on the size of your team and the projects you manage, you’ll want to see which ones can entirely match your requirements.
Shop around to see which VPNs are best for your needs, and reassure your employees that keeping their company VPN on will protect them from cyberattacks.
4. Keep Your Promises
You have to be trustworthy if you want to develop trust in a virtual team.
Being a reliable employer or manager also entails keeping your promises. Your employees need to know that they can rely on you and the organization to meet their demands, regardless of the situation or the promise.
If you promised your team seasonal bonuses for a good quarter, make sure you follow through on those promises and keep them updated on when they’ll get theirs.
If you said you’d come back to them with information on certain issues by a certain date, keep your word. People will appreciate knowing that their leaders are taking their pledges seriously, even if it’s simply an update.
This is a culture that begins on the inside. So, if you want your team to trust you and become trustworthy teammates to others, you must first provide them with a cause to do so.
Change Happens from the Inside Out
Managers who wish to develop trust in virtual teams must start from the inside out. Trust takes time to develop, so be patient. There should be no cause for your staff to lack trust in your organization or one another if you follow the best practices we’ve mentioned below.
Remember that it takes effort to create trust, but it takes no time at all to destroy it. If you make a mistake, admit it and communicate about it. Nothing is more frustrating than working with a corporation that refuses to accept responsibility for its faults.