When Working Remotely, What Does Trust Even Look Like?

Trust is an expansive concept which can encompass a variety of different meanings. It is sometimes utilised as a redundant phrase to increase the length of a statement. We do not particularly enjoy having to confront this concept.

Rather than simply taking the term ‘trust’ for granted, it is more productive to break it down into its fundamental components and explore its meaning in the context of everyday language, as famously articulated by Raymond Carver.

It may be useful to help you to visualise the concept in order to understand how to foster trust among remote colleagues. We would be more than happy to have a discussion with you about this at any time.

Looking at the issue of trust in distributed teams from an unfavorable angle

Trust is an abstract concept that can be difficult to define and can become distorted when examined too closely. Taking a more pragmatic approach is often beneficial, and in this instance, it can be helpful to forget any positive associations with trust and instead focus on a practical, negative interpretation.

This demonstrates the attitude and mindset of the team’s key members when they are not in a position of authority, which is especially pertinent for teams who work remotely.

Glassdoor, Comparably, and The Job Crowd are three of the most widely-used review platforms for remote employment, however, they all raise the same trust concerns in regards to their reliability.

  • Employees who are based remotely from their managers have noted that a significant obstacle to effective dialogue is a lack of trust from their superiors. This has been identified as a major issue when attempting to communicate openly with one another.
  • Managers have expressed a common concern about remote employees: whether they are exerting the necessary level of effort to complete their work.

There you have it, the central point of debate about confidence in a distant team. We’re cutting back, after all.

The irony is that, despite the widely-held belief that working from home is successful, even minor restrictions may have a significant impact on productivity.

In this article, we explore the trust challenges that employees face when operating remotely from the perspective of the employees themselves. We will go on to consider the viewpoint of management and address any concerns they may have at a later stage.

The danger of opacity in the dispersed labor paradigm.

For remote workers, the greatest challenge when working with dispersed teams is not a lack of trust, but rather a lack of information. This means that it is not a reflection of their abilities or qualifications for the job, but rather a consequence of their situation.

The trustworthiness of the temporary workers is being called into question by the managers. It is being strongly implied that these employees, who have been sourced from outside the organisation, should not be trusted with sensitive information.

The one thing that managers dread the most—their remote workers not giving 100%—can be the result of such negative thinking.

There are a number of potential outcomes if remote teams aren’t kept in the loop and given access to important information.

  • The “we vs them” mentality: A team can never work together towards common objectives if divisions like these exist within it.
  • Waste of time occupation: The 2023 HackerRank Developer Skills Report suggests that professional development opportunities are of great importance to developers, with employees who do not feel that they can count on their employers being likely to look for employment elsewhere.
  • Toiling instead of taking charge: Remote employees are less likely to act in the company’s best interests if they are required to concentrate only on their own tasks and deadlines.
  • Job discontentment: Repeated feelings of isolation at work may have a negative impact on morale, productivity, and the company’s image over time.

The benefits of “secret” sharing among a globally dispersed team

Keeping remote employees abreast of important updates is an excellent way to create a sense of belonging to the organisation. By entrusting remote workers with important information, you can foster a feeling of being part of the team and demonstrate your confidence in their abilities. This will ultimately strengthen the relationship between the organisation and its remote personnel.

If you are sceptical about the concept of ‘feeling part of the firm’ being ‘fluffy’, as we have previously stated, then the 2023 Trust Outlook (pdf) provides some insight into the opinions of US workers. Results from the survey indicated that the majority of employees trusted their company’s leadership.

  • Twenty-one percent would put in more time at work.
  • 23% have superior ideas
  • Twenty-five percent might be better team players if they tried
  • Only 23% of people would be more loyal if
  • To save money, 7% of workers are willing to accept a wage decrease

According to a survey, 28% of employees consider an open culture to be the most influential factor when determining whether or not they want to continue working for their current employer. This suggests that creating an environment that is conducive to open communication and collaboration is a key component of successful retention of staff.

The recent HackerRank report highlighted that developers are attracted to roles that require creative thinking, however they will only be successful in such roles if they feel they have the trust and confidence of their employer.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Business Case for a High-Trust Culture study (pdf) from Great Place to Work has highlighted the fact that high levels of trust between employees and management can lead to enhanced business performance and profitability.

How to lock away your business’s exclusive spices and herbs

The potential implications of a lack of trust in the security of confidential information within a business can be catastrophic, particularly for a fledgling organisation. However, it is also essential to ensure that knowledge is shared effectively in order to optimise staff productivity.

In addition to building trust among workers, there are further measures that may be taken to ensure the safety of your firm and its workforce.

  • NDAs: In order to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive business data, many organisations and their personnel utilise non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to ensure the security of their information. These agreements are highly flexible and can be tailored to protect a wide range of confidential materials, from secret information to internal protocols.
  • Emails: To what extent is your team aware that electronic communications, such as emails, could potentially be used as legal evidence? This is something you may want to communicate to your staff. Email is often the preferred method for quickly disseminating firm-wide knowledge, rather than using chat or remote technologies.
  • Data-safety instruments: Non-human mistakes may also lead to data breaches. It is essential for distributed teams to have a safe method of file sharing.
  • Electronic Data Space: Virtual data rooms provide a secure environment for data storage and transfer, due to their inherent privacy, encryption and traceability. By taking advantage of these features, you are able to control which individuals have access to specific data, ensuring that you are always aware of who is viewing which information.

In recent times, with the widespread shift to remote working, it is essential for managers to reassess their methods for staying connected with their distributed team members. Contrary to popular opinion, remote staff are invaluable resources who should be provided with the necessary tools and support to reach their goals, both for their individual benefit and for the benefit of the company.

It is essential that we provide a positive and supportive atmosphere in order to encourage our staff to share their knowledge and express their opinions openly and honestly. This will enable them to achieve their best possible performance. If you are looking for reliable personnel to work remotely, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs