A large proportion of the UK’s workforce has recently entered the unique world of remote work. For many, this is a new and unusual situation as a lot of teams have never worked from home before - and the change came rather quickly for some. Remote working presents many new challenges, but also opens up great opportunities. What do you need to consider to leverage these opportunities and ensure your remote team thrives?
We believe that there are two vital pillars for successful remote work: trust and communication.
Trust is essential for remote accountability – how can you know your team is working hard, and how can the team show that they got work done? Trust. In order to avoid overwork and micromanagement, you need a culture of mutual trust.
The second pillar is good communication. But clearly, remote communication is different to being physically present at work. In order to keep your remote team informed, empowered and motivated, clear and transparent communication is a must. There also needs to be space for socialising as occasional meetings at the coffee machine or water cooler are not possible.
Whatever your remote work set up is, the two pillars of trust and communication should form the foundation for building a remote company culture that allows your team to flourish. Here are four basic tips for building communication and trust in virtual teams.
A Gartner study identified a breakdown in trust as the greatest threat to a virtual team. Virtual communication holds a greater potential for misunderstandings due to the lack of face-to-face personal interaction. This can quickly erode the team culture in a remote environment. However, trust is clearly crucial for engaging and supporting your remote workforce.
At Salesforce, trust is a core value of our company culture. Also our customers recognise the value of trust. As Jasper Martens, CMO of PensionBee explains “building trust amongst remote teams is making sure they bought into your company values in the first place. Two out of our 5 company values are Love and Honesty. Showing love to each other and fostering a culture of honest and open communication on each other's work and behaviour is at the heart of a happy and trusted team.”
We at Salesforce, also firmly believe in these principles and establish trust by empowering our people to voice ideas, opinions, and feedback. For this purpose, the following factors form the basis:
When working remotely, it’s important that your team members know what they are doing and how to do it. That is much easier to achieve if you establish clear goals and roles as well as easy-to-follow workflows, which greatly simplifies tasks. This is especially true when it comes to bigger projects – establishing the specifics upfront can save a lot of headaches later on.
Once you have defined clear guidelines, the following tips can help your team stay on track:
Team building is a great way to develop a sense of community and trust – especially if your team is working remotely. The more you get to know your team members, the more you are able to trust them. Lack of social contact and working in isolation can diminish team spirit, so it helps to actively plan in some socialising and virtual team building activities.
Constant online meetings can be pretty draining. Working remotely can also feel a little isolated. So, a great way to boost motivation is to add a little fun into your daily communication. While encouraging your teams to reach out to each other socially helps them bond, it’s also a great idea to build in some chances to have a laugh together into your meetings. This can help organically improve communication. So, why not start your meeting with a quick game every so often?
Some fun icebreaker ideas for virtual meetings:
With a little creativity, it’s totally possible to create a compelling virtual event for your internal teams, say goodbye to boring meetings!.
Taking the leap to remote working is challenging. But by following the tips above it is possible to not only work effectively in a remote setting, but to go from strength to strength. The two pillars for a thriving remote team are trust and communication. So plan activities and realise virtual team building ideas that help boost these two key areas – and your remote team will feel empowered and motivated to achieve their goals.
This is only a small selection of the practices that have helped us navigate the world of remote working. Since we couldn’t fit them all into one blog post, we’re sharing comprehensive guidance, tips and tangible steps on how to get started in our on-demand webinar: ‘How Salesforce is Engaging a Remote Workforce’.