Trust and remote working

Posted 14 April 2020 by
Helen Rayner, Thought Leadership Lead Consultant, The Myers-Briggs Company

The government announced last month that where possible, people should work from home. Many of us might be used to regular remote working, while for others it might be new. In this blogpost, I’ll share a few thoughts and tips on trust and remote working. 

When working remotely, the hustle and bustle of an office environment is missing, and fear can grow in this space. We are living in uncertain times, but we can mitigate this through trust. When there is silence, people will assume the worst. Be transparent. People might be looking to you for answers you do not have. 

Be honest about what you do and do not know.

Trust is integral.

It plays a significant role in the success of teams. When working remotely, trust becomes even more important compared to when physically present in an office. If your manager trusts you, you don’t worry about being constantly online, and answering every email as soon as it arrives in your inbox. 

The conversation should be around outputs, rather than managing every moment of the day. To help your manager and colleague keep track of tasks, and to ensure the output is visible, using tools like Asana or Teams can be effective.

Trust can look differently depending on the situation: showing concern for the welfare of others, and by being reliable – delivering work and meeting deadlines. Picking up the phone, turning on your webcam, or sending an IM. Any of these things build relationships, and trust is built through healthy relationships. Setup calls at the beginning or the end of the day. 
In the Thought Leadership team at The Myers Briggs Company, when we are all working remotely, we sometimes have a quick end of day call. The suggested (but not compulsory) agenda is to share a highlight of the day and a goal for the following day. 

Ensure the organisation is giving people the correct technology they need in order to be effective. To prevent silos, ensure everyone uses the same technology. Different people using different platforms, particularly file sharing/storage, can create more silos. 

Turn your webcam on. People will often object. But it helps to keep everyone in the room. This is particularly the case if the majority of people are in one location, and one or two are dialling in remotely. Everyone should be able to see everyone else. Non-verbal communication and energy within meetings/discussions can still be conveyed via webcams. 

Make yourselves available for team meetings and 1:1s. When someone is not in the office each day, it can be harder to spot how people are doing. You can miss cues such as people being late, looking tired or withdrawn. By having different ways of catching up with people, you are more likely to catch issues before they escalate. 

Encourage and facilitate a culture where colleagues can pick up the phone for a chat, to bounce ideas around or just to talk about non-work related interests. 

The saying “out of sight, out of mind” has stood the test of time for a reason. Get to know people and their circumstances. What additional responsibilities might they have that you don’t know about if you don’t see them often? Do your colleagues have a support network? Be aware of resources you can signpost them to e.g. employee assistance programme. 

If you want more advice and tips, go to our page on remote working.


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