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Power tips for building trust and managing the accountability of a remote team

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Guest post By Julia Paton | March 20th 2021
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Many businesses around the globe are now working offsite to keep their operations afloat. For most, this is uncharted territory and may not be as temporary as was initially thought. In the transition to working from home, managers are faced with accountability in a different way – how do they know if their employees are working?  

Uncertainty around how to trust employees to get work done often leads managers to micromanage their employees – causing employees to overwork to prove themselves. The solution is simple, to trust.  

By fostering a culture of trust, your remote team will thrive. Here are a few ways to build  trust and reliability in a remote team:  

 

Be Completely Transparent  

When an entire team is separated, accidentally withholding information or not providing enough context for other team members is common. Make a conscious effort to provide all relevant information – even if it seems obvious. Be transparent about working hours, to project expectations, to payment timelines.  

 

Use Communication Tools 

Communicate with your remote team openly and be open. Be aware not to treat team chat tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack like emails – keep almost all discussions public – ensuring that no member feels left out of important conversations.  

If there is a miscommunication, escalate it privately. Once the issue is resolved, return to a  public channel and relay the outcome. This creates a culture of trust.  

 

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Be Social 

The better you get to know your team, the more they feel they can trust you. Make team socialising and bonding a priority. Fun and light conversations on a chat tool loosen the tension for more serious conversations. This is not a waste of meeting or work time; it’s a  way to ensure employees feel connected, which is crucial in building a trustworthy remote culture.  

 

Focus on Output 

Trust in a remote team means knowing that each employee is going to accomplish their respective tasks.  

Managers need to be realistic – employees working from home are going to do their household tasks and get distracted. Use this time as an opportunity to learn how to manage 

for output, not for “time-in-seat”. To trust that your team can manage their own days, time  and responsibilities empowers every person to focus on their output.  

 

Simplify your job

It is impossible to keep track of everything a team is doing – despite being able to follow each person’s individual online trail.  

In conclusion, the key to at-home employees feeling accountable for their own work is to trust them. Trust among colleagues is the foundation of almost every aspect of a successful team and the greater business. It takes more effort to build trust in a team that is remote, but the above tips are proven ways to make it happen for managers. 

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