7 Ways to Build Trust in Remote Teams

By Ivana Fisic

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Establishing a trustful and reliable relationship is important in any workplace, especially in a remote setting. Not sharing the same work environment means that developing relationships will be more challenging.

Encouraging trust values in the workspace is significant both for employers and employees. In their book The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything, Stephen M. R. Covey and Rebecca R. Merrill explained that there are low-trust and high-trust organizations. In high-trust companies, employees are loyal to the company because they feel motivated. On the other hand, this isn’t the case in low-trust organizations.

Trust can affect the financial aspects of companies. A study conducted by Watson Wyatt showed that high-trust organizations surpassed low-trust organizations by 286% in terms of total return to shareholders.

In companies that value trust, workers will feel:

  • That they have more energy – 106%,
  • that they are more dedicated to their tasks – 76%,
  • lower stress levels – 74%,
  • that they’re less likely to feel burnout – 40%, and
  • higher overall life satisfaction – 29%.

As a remote team leader, you’re responsible for creating an environment where your coworkers can trust you and you can rely on them.

1.  Create a Sense of Unity

It’s essential to have unity in virtual teams. So if team members feel that they’re part of the team, they will give their best. This triumph will be beneficial for the whole team. This is what is known as “swift trust,” when people can rely on each other even if they’re strangers.

To create a sense of unity in your team, you should figure out the strengths and abilities of each team member. So when everyone demonstrates their greatest skills and capabilities within the team, results will be incredible.

2.  Set Clear Goals

When managing a remote team, you need to make sure to set and regularly take care of:

  • Team goals
  • Team purposes
  • Priorities

In fact, you should create a document that contains all those details, then share it with the rest of your team. For example, you can review this document every week during your team meetings, which is a perfect way to inform your team if there are any updates regarding their work. In addition, each team member should know their responsibilities.

By having clear goals, purposes, and priorities, you will promote transparency within your team.

3.  Promote Transparent Communication within the Team

In line with the earlier tip, maintaining open communication among team members is the best way to enhance collaboration. 

To stay in touch with each other, consider using these channels:

  • Synchronous channels: Those that employees use at the same time for urgent questions, consultations, or requests. These channels are live chats, video calls, meetings, and phone calls.
  • Asynchronous channels: Channels for asynchronous communication. For instance, written messages that one person sends to a colleague living in a different time zone are asynchronous. These may include emails, direct messaging, and posting updates on project management apps. 

As you can see, both categories of communication platforms are equally important for remote workers. As a leader, you should promote frequent communication among the team, so they can be on the same page concerning work issues. So your coworkers will feel more connected and more able to trust one another.

4.  Organize Regular Meetings with the Team

When talking in person isn’t possible, online meetings are the next best thing. To update the team with the latest news, you should hold regular meetings with them:

  • Online calls for the whole team
  • One-on-one calls with each colleague, if absolutely necessary.

Additionally, you can arrange a less formal meeting now and then. It can be your online version of a Happy Hour event or a casual gathering for the team. This is an ideal method of getting to know each other. Therefore, both you and your teammates will be more willing to rely on each other.

5.  Set a Remote Workforce Leader

Working remotely might cause loneliness for some employees. But there’s an easy solution to make remote workers feel like a part of a group – determining a remote workforce leader.

As a team manager, you can assign this position to a team member or hire someone to do that.

The purpose of a remote workforce leader is to:

  • Determine the remote workforce culture
  • Make sure that there is proper remote collaboration among the employees.
  • Organize virtual team-building events for the workers – a book club, a quiz about movies, sport-related video calls, or anything else that would interest your colleagues.

Another assignment that a remote leader should embrace is setting up a buddy system. So whenever a new remote colleague joins the team, a remote leader should be their “welcome teammate.” In brief, a remote leader should set a few calls to introduce new workers to the company, other team members, and tasks for their first week.

6.  Focus on the Output

Evaluating the work of your remote team is not as simple as reviewing their work in the traditional setting. Here are some suggestions on how to check the work of your remote colleagues:

  • During a call, you can ask your team members about the status of their current assignments and whether they need more guidelines. But don’t micromanage your coworkers
  • Always aim your attention on their overall output

If your colleagues deliver their high-quality tasks on time, that’s all that matters. Each team member has their own method of managing their workload. But their results will speak for themselves.

7.  Provide Honest Feedback

When working remotely, employees might feel demotivated or unsure if their results are good enough for the company. So managers should start providing their workers with feedback.

Whenever you evaluate the performance of your team, be sure to let them know whether their work is done successfully. By giving your colleagues honest feedback, you will help them realize if they need to improve certain aspects of their work. Your team members will be inspired to strive for excellence.

Wrapping Up

Developing trust is a vital step to having a successful crew of remote workers. If you’re a remote manager, consider trying the tips we suggested. We’re sure they will help you create a trustful and loyal working environment.

How Can You Build Trust in Remote Teams?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Ivana Fisic
Ivana Fisic
Ivana Fisic is a time management researcher and writer at Clockify. She is always exploring the new methods of how time management can help you organize your workflow more effectively, as well as how you can increase your productivity.
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