How to Build Trust in Teams that Only Communicate Virtually
Remote work is more common than ever before. It’s expected that by 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers. Virtual teams, made up of people working across locations (including from home) are a reality that will only become more prevalent. Virtual teams can be every bit as effective as teams who sit in an office together, but there is the important groundwork that needs to be established.
Trust and communication are two factors that will help determine the success of your virtual team. Virtual teams can be more efficient, agile, and effective than physical teams, but only if everyone on board is working diligently toward the same goals while relying on and empathizing with other team members. Here are 5 ways that smart managers can build those qualities within their virtual teams.
Construct teams with needed capabilities and personalities in mind, then ensure everyone is dependable. Each member of the team should be able to deliver by deadlines, no matter where they are. As the team continues to learn that they can depend on one another, the collaboration will increase. When hiring, make sure new team members know that dependability is a crucial trait for job success.
Share information openly and ask your team to do the same. Ensure that company updates, status reports, and progress on key initiatives are being communicated. Make sure that team members know that they will always get the truth from you on items that affect them and that you expect the same in return.
Focus on Accountability
When employees aren’t in the office with management, it’s key that project results are the focus. You won’t be able to manage staff time at their desk (and many would argue that you shouldn’t), but you should always have visibility into what is getting completed and when. Focus on deliverables and hold everyone accountable. Remember it’s management’s job to create accountability - don’t rely on team members to police each other’s deadlines, or you will create the opposite of trust.
Use the Right Tools
It’s essential that you have the right tools in place to support your team. Do you have the proper applications that allow employees to communicate and collaborate? Remote teams need an infrastructure that supports not just their day-to-day tasks, but their collaboration with others within the company. Phone, video, and messaging services are all key components of effective communication on virtual teams.
Build Interpersonal Relationships
Make the time to socialize virtually. Take time to have personal conversations and get to know the individuals on your team. Consider starting meetings with an “around the horn” about how weekends were spent or the last good movie everyone saw. Consider using video for meetings whenever possible, as people tend to be more engaged and feel more connected that way. Be inventive to create virtual water cooler talk that will build lasting relationships over time.
Having the right tools in place will help build strong and collaborative relationships among your virtual team. Visit Voxtell’s website to learn more about tools for virtual teams, and subscribe to our blog for more tips.