Working remotely means having to be creative about building relationships. People are used to looking at body language, voice pitch or verbal cues to understand each other, collaborate and ultimately, build a trusting work culture. But with the sudden move to work from home, things that were clear cut – like understanding that a task is urgent or a topic is sensitive – seem less straightforward when you can’t physically see the people that you’re working with and you’re not used to their quirks or idiosyncrasies. But while being in this situation can seem challenging, there are ways that management can encourage a culture of teamwork that makes it easy for employees to trust each other and successfully collaborate.
One of the most common challenges that comes up is that employees simply don’t trust each other as much, which means that they’re less likely to cooperate with each other and share helpful information. Complicating matters, people get distracted a lot more easily – because they’re constantly receiving all kinds of alerts on their devices – so that workplace email or that phone call can easily slip their mind. On top of all that, people find it hard to communicate in a detailed and specific way because they get exhausted from typing or from regular video calls – becoming frustrated over video calls when they notice their team members not looking at the camera. All of this means that people struggle to connect with each other and are likely to leave out important information that they should be sharing with the team, whether because of exhaustion or an inability to connect with their team members.
These challenges can seem overwhelming, but with a creative approach, management can find ways to create environments that build relationships virtually, encouraging trust and collaboration while working remotely. One way is by maintaining the same teams for multiple projects. When you have the same teams work together on multiple projects that gives them the opportunity to build long lasting relationships with each other and understand each other’s communication styles and nuances – virtually.
Another way to tackle these challenges is to encourage employees to focus on each other and recognize each other’s needs. Urge them to be fully present by turning off notifications during meetings so that they don’t get distracted. This helps build trust among employees because they know that their colleagues’ attention is fully on them – and it also means employees are less likely to miss important information from their colleagues. Encouraging employees to also set up “head down” time can also be useful – this is time when they let other colleagues know they’re working on a specific task and won’t respond to messages or calls immediately – think of it as kind of like the closed door in the office.
You can also find ways to leverage technology to make life easier for employees working remotely – all while building trust among teams. One example? A compliant, secure messaging solution that employees can use to quickly share important information without disturbing their colleagues’ workflow, the way a phone call or video chat does. Designating an app for these kinds of communications also helps people compartmentalize information, because they know that any information that comes through this app is priority. All this can be done easily and quickly by employees without them having to worry about or juggle compliance or privacy because it’s built in.
Approached the right way, remote work is an opportunity to build office relationships that make work more efficient and bring projects to life through field work. All it requires is a creative approach from management that brings employees together to recognize each other’s work styles and understand when information is important.
Learn how Vaporstream can help your employees work remotely here.