From 2000 through 2009, the number of employees that worked remotely tripled in size – and that number is expected to continue to grow rapidly. In addition, in 2011, 10% of workers reported telecommuting at least once a week, up from 8% in 2007.
But despite this increase, the challenge remains: How can supervisors properly manage virtual workers to deliver positive results?
The answer is simpler – and more complicated – than you might think. It’s all about trust.
As one of the Northwest’s top staffing firms, we know that virtual teams aren’t unlike on-site teams in that trust is a key component of success and productivity. Many workplace experts agree that trust is perhaps the most important element of a harmonious and efficient work environment – and that attitude holds true for employees working remotely, as well.
In fact, in the book, Virtual Team Success, authors Darleen DeRosa and Richard Lepsinger shared findings from a global study, which concluded that top performing virtual teams reported higher levels of trust than teams that were less successful. According to the authors, trust is an essential ingredient for virtual team success.
While it might only take seconds to destroy, building trust can take a while, especially in a virtual environment, where there isn’t nearly as much personal interaction. But it’s definitely possible and will ultimately contribute to the team’s overall success. To help you get started, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Establish clear and open communication from the beginning. Make sure that all team members have each others’ contact information and preferred means of contact.
- Set the ground rules. This is critically important before the start of the project so that everyone is clear on expectations. For instance, let each member know you expect a progress report via email by the end of the day Friday.
- Use online tools, like video conferencing and Facebook, or similar sites, so that team members can actually see each other, and learn about backgrounds and experiences of each member.
- Meet face to face whenever possible. This is especially important in the very beginning of the team’s formation in order to build relationships.
- Recognize positive results and accomplishments openly and regularly with all the team members, even if it’s simply an employee offering to work extra hours to complete a project.
- Empower team members to make decisions and act on them. People who are successful at working virtually are disciplined and self-motivated. They don’t want to be micro-managed or have to consult with you on every minor decision.
Also, if you don’t currently employ virtual team members, but are thinking about letting employees telecommute, read this post for a look at the pros and cons.
And finally, while building trust is a critical component of any successful virtual team, it’s also important that your team is staffed with qualified and dependable people who can get the job done. That’s where Provisional comes in. For more than 15 years, we’ve been one of the Northwest’s most trusted staffing firms thanks to our ability to source, screen, and deliver top talent. Contact us today to learn more.
How to Build Trust Among a Virtual Team | Northwest Staffing Firms | Provisional Blog