The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the way we work. Overnight, and without a choice, many of us have made the shift to remote work. This presents fascinating new challenges for all of us leaders and teams. Now more than ever, leaders need their team members to be satisfied, productive and engaged. And teams need to trust the process, seek support amongst their peers, and find ways to facilitate these adjustments. To operate successfully and make the best of these circumstances, now is the best time for organizations and their people to learn how to harness the power of trust.
Virtual workplaces possess unique qualities: they encompass different cultures and span across time zones, but they lack human connection and often amplify feelings of loneliness and isolation (New York Times). Here are a few tips and tricks to overcome these barriers, all the while building and nurturing a culture of trust.
I- It’s all about being honest and open
Trust begins with open and honest communication. In fact, 70% of employees feel most engaged when leadership continually updates them and communicates openly (HBR). Beyond recurring team meetings and 1:1s, leaders need to find ways to create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable sharing more than just work updates. In today’s ever changing world, a successful leader will prioritize psychological safety and make it easy for everyone to open up about the topics affecting their everyday lives – this can include anything from child care to social issues and feelings of isolation.
II- Trust your people to do their best work
Lack of in-person connectivity and accountability should hopefully not translate into lack of productivity. Leaders who set their teams up for success will have an easier time delegating tasks, resisting the urge to micro-manage and trusting their teams to do their best work. Ensure that your teams have the right tools to effectively communicate, collaborate, track progress and simplify tedious tasks. This means providing the usual “productivity tools” we’re all familiar with, but also making room for tools that prioritize community-building. With the right mix, employees will feel empowered to work on their assigned tasks, all the while supporting one another to help the team reach its collective goals.
III- Build genuine & lasting connections
It is proven that having genuine and lasting connections at work goes a long way in creating a positive employee experience (SHRM) – and at MixR, we love this fact. With virtual teams, leaders must go the extra mile to ensure that their people are getting to know each other on a deeper level. Hence, the importance of providing your teams with opportunities to connect beyond the scope of their work responsibilities. Have fun with it! Our goal with MixR was to create a platform that truly enables your people to find their common grounds and build community. Think virtual happy hours, coffee sessions, water cooler conversations, book clubs, social clubs, other interest-based groups and beyond.
IV- Take good care of yourself
Being a leader in these times requires hard work, long hours and immense concentration. It’s crucial to accept that you won’t always know what to do, and instead, focus on trusting your people and empowering them to be creative. With that said, it is equally important to take time for yourself, to recharge, find support, and connect with others who might be facing similar challenges – whatever works best for you. This way, you can be fully present when it comes to supporting, guiding and listening to your teams through change. Take some time away from your computer to reassess and realign: rest is all the more part of work. When you feel your best, you will perform your best, and this will certainly translate through to your teams.
Building trust is a serious undertaking that can create significant value for your people and your bottom line. Flexible and remote ways of working are here to stay. The difference maker will be your ability to nurture trust, human connection and community across your teams. If this is achieved, your teams will have what it takes to successfully adapt and evolve in the face of continuous change.
We hope you enjoyed our first “People Spotlight” blog post! Stay tuned for more insights from our team in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we invite you to discover MixR to find out if we can help you achieve your community building goals and scale trust & belonging in your workplace.