When Working Remotely, What Does Trust Even Look Like?

Trust is a complex and multi-faceted concept which can span various interpretations. Unfortunately, it is often used redundantly to artificially lengthen statements. At Works, we prefer not to encounter this elusive concept.

At Works, we believe that it is more productive to deconstruct the term ‘trust’ into its basic components and examine its significance in everyday language. This approach was famously described by Raymond Carver.

In order to cultivate trust among remote colleagues, it can be helpful to visualise the concept. At Works, we are always available to have a conversation with you on this topic.

Examining the challenge of trust in distributed teams from a less favorable perspective

Defining trust can be challenging as it is an intangible concept that can become convoluted upon closer examination. Therefore, adopting a pragmatic approach is often advantageous. In this case, it may be beneficial to disregard any positive connotations associated with trust and instead concentrate on a negative, practical interpretation.

This illustrates the perspective and mindset of the essential members of the team when they are not in authority, a particularly relevant aspect for remote teams.

Although commonly used to review remote employment, Glassdoor, Comparably, and The Job Crowd all evoke concerns regarding their dependability with regards to trust. At Works, we acknowledge these concerns.

  • Remote employees have observed that a notable hindrance to effective communication with their superiors is the absence of trust. This has been identified as a key challenge when striving to engage in open and honest dialogue.
  • A frequently voiced concern among managers is whether remote employees are expending the required level of effort to fulfil their responsibilities.

That concludes the key point of discussion regarding trust in a remote team. We are drawing to a close.

Ironically, although remote work is widely considered to be effective, even slight limitations can substantially affect productivity.

In this article, we will examine the trust-related hurdles that employees encounter while working remotely from their perspective. We will subsequently switch to the management standpoint and tackle their apprehensions in due course.

The hazard of obscurity in the distributed labor paradigm.

The most significant hurdle faced by remote employees while collaborating with distributed teams is not an absence of trust but instead a lack of information. This does not imply a lack of capability or suitability for the job; instead, it is a result of their circumstance.

Managers are raising concerns about the credibility of temporary workers. They are strongly insinuating that these employees, who have been recruited external to the organisation, are not worthy of trust with sensitive information.

The one thing that managers fear the most – remote employees not working to their full potential – can be an outcome of such pessimistic thoughts.

Numerous possible consequences for remote teams could arise if they are excluded from key information and not kept informed.

  • The “us versus them” mindset:

    If such divisions exist within a team, it cannot work collectively towards shared goals.
  • Unproductive activity:

    According to the 2023 HackerRank Developer Skills Report, professional growth prospects are highly valued by developers, with employees who feel they are not provided this by their employers likely to seek work elsewhere.
  • Working hard rather than leading:

    If remote employees are solely focused on their own duties and deadlines, they are less inclined to act in the organisation’s best benefit.
  • Work dissatisfaction:

    Consistent emotions of solitude while working can gradually degrade morale, productivity, and the organisation’s reputation.

The advantages of confidential information exchange among a globally distributed team

Keeping remote employees updated with significant developments is an excellent approach to establish a sense of being part of the organisation. By entrusting remote workers with essential information, you can foster a sense of confidence in their abilities and make them feel like they are part of the team. Ultimately, this will enhance the relationship between the organisation and its remote workforce.

If you are sceptical about the notion of ‘belonging to the organisation’ being a ‘fuzzy’ concept, as previously mentioned, the 2023 Trust Outlook (pdf) provides some insight into the views of US workers. Findings from the survey revealed that the majority of employees had faith in their company’s leadership.

  • Twenty-one percent would invest additional time at work.
  • 23% possess excellent ideas
  • Twenty-five percent have the potential to be better team players if they make an effort
  • Merely 23% of individuals would exhibit greater loyalty if
  • As a cost-saving measure, 7% of employees are open to accepting a pay cut

As per a survey, 28% of workers consider an open culture to be the most significant factor when deciding whether to remain employed by their current employer. This indicates that establishing an atmosphere that encourages transparent communication and cooperation is a crucial element of effective staff retention.

The recent HackerRank report emphasised that developers are drawn to positions that necessitate inventive thinking, but they can only succeed in such positions if they believe that their employer trusts and has confidence in them.

Lastly, it is essential to acknowledge the findings of the Great Place to Work’s Business Case for a High-Trust Culture study (pdf), which suggest that elevated levels of trust between staff and management can result in improved business performance and profitability.

How to safeguard your company’s proprietary spices and herbs

The potential consequences of mistrust in the protection of sensitive information within a company can be devastating, especially for a nascent organisation. However, it is also vital to guarantee that information is exchanged efficiently to enhance employee productivity.

Apart from cultivating trust among employees, there are other steps that can be taken to ensure the security of your company and its staff.

  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs):

    To preserve the privacy of confidential business data, numerous companies and their employees employ NDAs to guarantee the safety of their information. These agreements are extremely adaptable and can be customised to safeguard a broad range of sensitive materials, from confidential information to internal procedures.
  • Emails:

    To what degree is your team conscious of the fact that electronic communications, such as emails, might be used as legal proof? This is a message that you may want to relay to your staff. Email is often the favoured medium for swiftly circulating company-wide information, as opposed to using chat or remote technologies.
  • Data-security tools:

    Data breaches may also occur due to non-human errors. It is critical for dispersed teams to have a secure means of sharing files.
  • Virtual Data Room:

    Electronic data rooms offer a secure space for storing and transferring data, thanks to their built-in confidentiality, encryption and auditability. By leveraging these capabilities, you can regulate which individuals are authorized to access particular data, ensuring that you always know who is accessing which information.

In light of the ubiquitous shift towards remote work in recent times, it is imperative for managers to rethink their strategies for keeping in touch with their dispersed team members. Contrary to popular belief, remote staff members are valuable assets who should be equipped with the necessary tools and resources to achieve their objectives, benefiting both them individually and the organisation as a whole.

It is crucial that we create a constructive and encouraging environment that motivates our employees to share their expertise and express their ideas candidly and frankly. This will allow them to perform to the best of their abilities. If you are seeking dependable staff to work remotely, we would be delighted to hear from you.

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