Maintaining a culture of trust during a crisis

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By Martin Royal

As many organizations prepare to encourage their workforce to work remotely, the change of work environment has the potential to impact employee's perception of the organization, of the leaders and of each other. It can be tricky to maintain a level of communication and trust when new remote workers are finding themselves working with other remote colleagues in multiple locations and time zones. One factor that could determine how well your team will work remotely together is that of trust, or the lack of it.

How do you maintain trust in a remote environment during a crisis?

Encourage your team to Intentionally connect with each other

Working remotely means your employees won't bump into each other in the hall or near the water cooler. These spurious interactions need to be created within the team so that everyone can get to know each other.

You could make use of virtual meeting spaces using Slack, Yammer or other social collaboration applications. People could also be paired up on weekly calls or videoconference with someone randomly chosen throughout the company. Some teams will host lunches over videoconference for everyone to share their experiences in an informal way.

Maintain transparency

It's easy for team members to feel out-of-touch from their co-workers, leaders and the organization when working remotely. Showing openness and transparency around projects, management updates, important and mundane decisions can have important benefits, such as:

• Improved relationships through increased trust between leaders and employees
• Better alignment as employees understand the company vision and how they can contribute to it
• Better solutions since employees are able to understand the company challenges and brainstorm ideas
• Better engagement overall as employees feel there is a greater connection to the organization as a whole.