24 March, 2020 | Rebecca East

Maintaining trust while remote working

Did you have viral pandemic in your 5-year business growth forecasts? No, neither did we.

It is frightening to feel out of control, but while there are things we can’t plan for or change, there are others that we can get a grip on and do something about. One of those is how you manage your workforce through a challenging time, to make sure your business and teams stay intact, happy and engaged.

That, we can help with.

A sudden shift to remote working – particularly against the backdrop of a global pandemic – was always going to be tough, for employees and managers alike. But as the dust starts to settle on the initial scramble to set up remote working practices, how can managers ensure that trust is maintained on both sides? And why do they need to?

Keeping a positive, trusting relationship while you both work from home requires effort from both parties. It can be difficult for managers to suddenly lose the visibility of their teams that they had in the workplace, just as it can be hard for employees who feel that they need to prove themselves as they work from home.

But striking that balance is crucial if you want to make this upcoming period of remote working a success and lessen its impact on your business.

If managers start to feel out of the loop, and left out of important conversations, they won’t be able to effectively manage their teams and their output. Yet if employees feel that managers don’t trust them, and that they are being micromanaged from afar, productivity is actually likely to drop – not to mention the feelings of resentment that can arise from this.

Here, we look at a few simple ways that managers can maintain trust over the coming months – and ensure that business objectives are met during a difficult time…

  1. Talk: The single best way to maintain trust in remote working. You can be more open and frank in conversation than you can on an email or message: written communication can leave a lot open to misinterpretation. A video call is the best way to replicate face to face meetings.
  2. Be honest: If you’re worried that someone isn’t being as productive as they should be, raise it with them now, rather than letting it fester. It may be that you need a better way to ‘see’ what is being achieved, or it might be that the employee is struggling and needs help. Remember, these are unusual circumstances, and some may be more concerned, anxious or distracted than others.
  3. Reporting: In some roles, output is easy to track – others less so. Agree a reporting structure than helps employees to evidence their work without feeling like they are being micro-managed. Review and adapt this as you both feel necessary.
  4. Address your own trust issues: Maybe you’ve been burned before, or maybe you have difficulty relinquishing control. Either way – if you find yourself feeling mistrustful without reason, now is the time to tackle this. This situation is not about to disappear overnight. Think about what you need to feel in control, but also consider what your team need to feel trusted and supported.

If you need help giving some structure to your remote teams, give us a call on 01628 613 040 or email hello@openblend.com for some friendly advice, whether you already use OpenBlend or not. And if you do feel you need a platform to support your managers as they tackle remote teams, OpenBlend can be installed and implemented remotely.

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