3 Ways to Create a Culture of Trust With Remote Workers

Remote work has moved into the mainstream. Unfortunately, employers’ trust in their employees hasn’t always gone along with it.

Why is trust sold so hard between companies and their virtual teams? Quite frankly, most managers are not used to working on the honor system. Instead, they are used to being able to see their employees. Even if these employees aren’t actually doing anything — hello, pervasive present — their physical presence makes supervisors feel comfortable.

Over time, distance can slowly erode the trust factor on both sides. Employers begin to wonder if their employees are taking them on a trip. Intrusive employees fear that employers do not treat them as trusted professionals. Wash, rinse, repeat, and you’ve got great quits on your hands.

Of course, you don’t have to sit back and accept and wait for things to deteriorate. In OnPay’s State of Small Business 2020 survey, 46 percent of remote workers felt their work was easier than at home, and another 25 percent said it was roughly the same. In other words, your virtual employees are set up to do their best work remotely – they just need your help to feel completely trusted and supported by your company. Taking the following steps can help your team build bonds based on mutual respect and trust.

1. Cool it down using monitoring software.

Are employees remote in their laptops or sneaking away for a quick nap with a lovable pet? You know you can install monitoring software to find out, as 32 percent of other companies do, according to ComputerWorld. But is spying on your teams the right choice?

One of the best ways to show your employees that you trust them is to loosen your grip. Certainly, you should stay updated on what you offer to ensure that the work gets done. However, as long as productivity is high and employees are responsive, it is best to invest in something other than a monitoring system.

2. Keeping remote workers in circles in vital conversations.

It’s the bane of every remote worker’s existence: excluding them from important communications. However, it can happen with shocking frequency. After all, remote workers tend to be out of sight, which often puts them in the “out of mind” category when it comes to texts and emails.

Instead of risking a breakdown of trust between you and your remote employees, double-check all information threads. Make sure you don’t forget to include virtual workers in your need-to-know items. This also applies to all internal meetings. Cisco has even gone so far as to state that 98 percent of business pools include a single remote worker, according to MIT research. However you do it, make sure that the outlying team members know where things are heading and that they have a seat at the table.

3. Respect their right to personal life.

Even when they are sick, remote workers can start to feel unreliable enough to take a day off. According to Study Finds, 58 percent of remote workers don’t feel they can take advantage of their vacation. their fear? Retribution in several pictures. Thus, they quit, with many doing well after the time they quit smoking.

Unless you want to be known as an employer who demands 24/7 attention from remote workers, make it clear that you want everyone to enjoy a personal life. This applies to the person in the room down the hall as well as the manager who works from home three time zones away. Your commitment to respect each worker’s need for downtime will go a long way toward building trust.

Trust is a two-way street. Use a give-and-take model that does not penalize remote workers just because they are not financially available. If they feel respected and in the loop, there’s no reason their careers can’t grow alongside your company – no matter where everyone spends their days.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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