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Building trust in remote teams

Today, Tim shares his experience on how to build trust (and maximise performance) in remote teams.

You may not yet be aware of this, but Projekt Rising is a fully remote company. All of our team members (employed and contracted) work from home offices or co-working spaces around the world.

I’ve been fully remote for 7.5 years and have managed remote teams for longer than I am willing to share. As we’re all working remotely at the moment, I hope that some of my hard learnt lessons will be of use to you and your organisation.

So here are my top 10 recommendations for building trust (and optimising performance) in fully remote teams.

1.     Have a weekly team video check-in, ideally at the start of the week, focus on social and wellbeing first, then anything that needs to be cascaded and a discussion of priority items.

2.     Avoid excess meetings and limit attendance to essential attendees only, a day filled with back to back meetings is a day where you have no time for personal delivery. When you’ve met the meeting objective, finish promptly and avoid keeping everyone on the call (give people their time back!)

3.     Have a single source of truth for who is working on what and when. This should be visual and accessible to all. It increases transparency and team discussion of priorities.

4.     Ensure team and individual goals are crystal clear. Reward when they are met. Investigate causes and create performance improvement plans when they are missed.

5.     Focus on delivery output not working time, but if individuals are not meeting expectations or perceived to be taking advantage, raise it directly one to one immediately.

6.     Where a team member needs additional support, have a daily one to one check-in, keep it short (10 mins or so) focus on mental health before work delivery.

7.     A lot can be achieved by instant messaging, but if it becomes a conversation, switch to a call. It will be quicker to make decisions and using voice or ideally video will ensure context and emotion are not missed.

8.     Keep email to a minimum, record anything task or project related directly in your company’s project management tool/platform. Ensure any critical project or task emails are tagged, recorded or attached appropriately.

9.     Avoid the use of multiple messaging platforms, if possible encourage or mandate the use of a single tool. Ensure that this is searchable historically and ideally uses channels for specific teams, projects and includes a company/team chat (with acceptable terms of use!)

10. As a leader, actively encourage and discuss exercise/breaks taken in the working day. Talk about achievements, physical, gardening, cooking, reading etc. Your team will be more efficient when focused before and after breaks which would normally be water cooler, coffee breaks, random conversations.

Trust your team to deliver, remote work works!