The biggest issues with distance are obvious—clarity can be lost, communication is more difficult and productivity is hard to measure.
•Leading employees from afar can prove difficult for managers to feel connected and maintain a high emotional intelligence.
•Employees may be more prone from hiding errors and problems.
•Erroneous assumptions can be made when communicating via phone
and email rather than in person.
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Overcoming the Challenge – Building Trust Virtually
If you can’t simply pop into a manager’s office or walk down the hall to have a heart-to-heart with a coworker over a disagreement, it’s tough to ensure small issues don’t create big problems. Fortunately, alleviating these issues begins with trust—and trust isn’t confined to a building or a location. Trust is built on mutual respect, communication, understanding and performance. Trust is maintained by focusing on these things, even virtually.
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Here are key factors to build trust in a virtual work environment:
1.Be Responsive: Responsiveness conveys connection and maintains focus.
2.Empower The Remote Worker: Telecommuting workers need to feel like they can do everything that someone in the office can do—give them the tools and flexibility to do it.
3.Provide Training: The virtual workforce needs training just as much as those in the office. With technology and e-learning, you can build skills easily on a virtual level.
a. Communicate, Communicate and Communicate Some More: Nothing will erode trust like a lack of communication.
b. Know Your Workforce: Not everyone builds trust the same ways.
By knowing your workforce and what truly drives them, you can build trust more effectively. Check out this video for different ways people approach trust. This quote from Harvard Management sums it up well; so go ahead and reap the advantages of virtual workers, but just do it right.
“Trust begins with you. You must be as responsive to your virtual team as you are to colleagues down the hall.”
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