- Key Point: Trust is a critical element in a team's productivity. Without it, you're unlikely to get anything meaningful done. But with it, teams can accomplish everything they set out to do and more.
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With the power of the internet, distance is not a big concern for business activities and production with the appearance of remote workstations and the emergence of the ability to work online at the comfort of your home and at your own pace. The internet is quite the handy tool and has led to the popularization of having remote teams in your business, wherein people are assigned tasks to do and are expected to produce the results within the said time frame while performing their duties in a separate location from other team members. You can hire the talent you need on-demand, typically at a fraction of the cost of a full-time, in-house designer or developer.
This is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee, the employer will have lesser overhead costs since there will be no need to pay for an additional physical workstation, and the employee does not have to deal with the horrid traffic and can do his duties in his home. However, this can be a double-edged sword, since the home has been treated as a sanctuary for relaxation, especially for those who came from corporate lifestyles or fieldwork. There are times that your remote teammates have not finished or fulfilled the task on time, which has led the team to do additional work or wait for the results, and most of the time, both.
It is not uncommon for teams to start having doubts and suspicion regarding the work of a teammate who is not physically near them. These doubts can slowly eat up not only the team morale but also the productivity of the team, which will compromise the results. To prevent this from happening, here are 5 useful tips to establish and maintain that level of trust that can propel your business even further heights.
- Get to know your remote team genuinely.
Before you can trust someone, you have to know someone first. Everyone has their own story to tell, however, you have to make sure that the stories of your remote team, their struggles, and their celebrations, will be a good part of the whole story for the team. You cannot truly help someone with their problems if you do not get to know someone in the first place.
one way to do that is to actually make social interactions a bit more fun. That way, the getting to know part will be continuous and will not have any kind of dissenting opinions. One way to make it more fun is to actually do some personality tests. One useful test would be the Myers Briggs test, which can actually two things for the team, the team get to know more about the person, and the strengths and weaknesses will be more apparent. Such information would be useful on how to give out tasks and how to further improve the business processes. By doing it this way and not the honestly corny methods of asking what kind of movies are they watching this weekend, and so on and so forth.
- Do not be the big brother that is watching, but instead let the team be the small brothers that make sure work is being done.
Anybody would get annoyed with the constant or asking for updates regarding the workload. This process of asking where they are already in the flowchart is actually detrimental not only because it wastes both of your time, it shows that the operational flow or process of your company or business is not up to the task and may need rewriting. Furthermore, this lack of trust can really erode the spirit of the team, and in particular, can make the person getting the constant questioning get a little bit fed up. This is not something that you want since it can definitely lessen productivity and increase the risk of losing one of the members of the team.
To counteract that, making a transparent and public flow of work will definitely make the team members more productive. This is because the effect of people knowing that you are not really performing up to par plus the implicit knowledge that you are constantly being judged silently by your peers would make a much better “nagging” method as compared to personally ask them for updates. You can use software that anybody can view like Trello or even just an excel flowchart which everybody can see like one in a google drive and put time stamps on it for every activity can be a no-cost alternative.
- Focus not only on the process but also on the person.
Sometimes we could not see the forest for the trees; the reason why there is no trust between remote teams may not just be about the physical absence of the team members, but could actually be more about the business structure as a whole and that the team has not adjusted fully yet. This is especially true with the team members who have not been working remotely for at least a year. That is a pretty big transition from working in an office cubicle. What most business managers and team leaders do is to put more processes or add more steps to the flowchart.
What the team needs is actually not a checklist but a human connection or motivation. Trust arises when feelings of camaraderie are evoked.
Trust will be built faster if you or the team is treating everybody like a person and not just the step before or after their task. In a nutshell, trust arises if you are working and performing as a human person and not as a robot. There are no software or tools that will change how you look at your team members. Instead, this is a holistic action plan that should be done by every member of the team. You can make opportunities for camaraderie to spring up by doing online virtual pizza parties after a task or milestone. Team building activities can actually be done by the whole team virtually, the team leaders and members just have to be more creative.
By getting to know your teammates, avoiding asking for updates directly, and by building the sense of teamwork and belongingness, trust between the members will just come naturally, and with trust comes efficiency and profit.