Many business owners tend to worry about the accountability of remote workers. They may be particularly concerned about whether their employees are getting work done and if they are able to remain productive while working out of the office.
To address this concern, some business leaders may resort to micromanaging. However, this caused employees to become paranoid and prone to second-guessing their work, which could significantly reduce their creativity and productivity. They may also end up overworking to prove themselves.
One way to ensure accountability in the era of remote work is to build trust.
How to build trust among your remote employees
Building trust in an organization entails making sure that everyone understands what their roles and the goals of the company are. It also involves holding employees accountable for tasks and performance. If you can foster a culture of trust in your organization, your remote workforce will thrive. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Encourage socialization
The more your employees get to know their colleagues, the more comfortable they are working with them. To socialize with colleagues working remotely, use business communication apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams and create channels devoted to certain topics like food, pets, music, gaming, art, sports, and more. You can also hold virtual lunches and coffee breaks. Non-work-related conversations are a great way for employees to get to know the people they work with, which helps build trust when getting tasks done.
As a business leader, you can get to know your employees better during one-on-one meetings. Before discussing work matters, take a few minutes to ask questions like how they’ve adjusted to the remote work life and what hobbies they've started to develop. Doing this may help your staff feel more connected to you.
Related article: How to set a healthy work-life balance while working remotely
2. Set clear goals
Transparency is key when building trust with your remote team. For instance, clarify how progress should be communicated. Do you want your team to send daily or weekly progress reports, or should updates be saved for one-on-one meetings? Clear guidelines on how to track and communicate progress will ensure that your staff know what their goals are and encourage them to ask for help if they encounter any problems.
3. Count the output, not the hours worked
Remote working has blurred the lines between your employees’ personal and professional lives, so you can’t expect them to be seated in front of their computer all day, as they also have to attend to their chores. As such, they should be incentivized based on the quality of their work and not the number of hours they've put in.
Trust that your employees will deliver on their tasks, even if they have to deal with personal matters at the same time. When trusted to do their jobs, employees working from home not just feel more independent, but they also deliver work that's up to par — without the need to be micromanaged and/or penalized for minor mistakes.
4. Hold people accountable for mistakes
Remind your remote workers that while it's okay to make mistakes, they should learn from them to avoid repeating them. They also shouldn’t waste time blaming themselves or other people, as this doesn’t help in rectifying the issue. Instead, employees should do the best they can to solve the problem while still delivering what is expected of them.
5. Offer feedback
Regularly provide feedback on your employees’ performance. This boosts their confidence and motivation and shows that you value them. Providing positive feedback also helps people understand and develop their strengths, and helps improve individual, team, and organizational performance.
Don’t forget to share negative observations as well. If done correctly, providing negative feedback can help your teammates grow and push themselves beyond their comfort zone.
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