Building professional relationships is important in a remote environment. Take the time to get to know your colleagues and team members on a personal level by asking about their interests, hobbies, and families. Here are some practical ways to build trust with others in a remote environment:
Make regular check-ins
Schedule regular check-ins with your colleagues and team members, or make impromptu greetings with team members you’ve found yourself disconnected from. Regular communication is key to building trust in a remote environment.
Make sure to communicate frequently and consistently with your colleagues and team members through various channels This could be a weekly video call or a daily chat message. Video conferencing can help build trust by allowing you to connect face-to-face with your colleagues and team members. This can help establish a more personal connection and create a stronger sense of camaraderie. Chat messages take little time but can yield high rewards in building trust.
Catch up on personal news, ask about each other’s families or interests, and show that you care. Just reaching out to let them know they are valued via a morning greeting, following-up on how things are going in a situation, or sending a work appropriate emoji or meme can work wonders for building professional relationships in a remote environment.
When you are on a call or in a chat conversation, be present and fully engaged. This means actively listening, responding thoughtfully, and showing interest in what the other person is saying. When you are fully present and engaged in a conversation, you are showing the other person that you value their time and opinions. You are also better able to understand the other person’s perspective and respond in a way that addresses their concerns and needs.
Avoid checking email, responding to texts, or chatting with someone else during a meeting or scheduled interaction. Remote workers may try to hide such multi-tasking behaviors, but try to be present as a sign of respect. Simply being present helps to build a positive relationship and trust between you and the other person.
Share personal stories
Share work appropriate personal stories and anecdotes to build rapport and create a more personalable connection with remote colleagues. This could be a funny story about your weekend or a personal challenge you overcame. Showing your transparency by being open and authentic with others can build trust. Share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns openly and encourage others to do the same. This helps build trust by creating an environment of transparency and openness.
Remember to balance personal disclosure with maintaining appropriate boundaries with colleagues. It can be easy to blur the lines between work and personal life when you’re working from home, but it’s important to remember that your colleagues are still your professional contacts. Avoid oversharing personal information or engaging in overly personal conversations, and maintain a professional distance in your interactions. For more about read our article on Remote Communication Strategies for Maintaining Boundaries.
Empathy is an important component of building trust. Take the time to understand the challenges and concerns of your colleagues and team members and show empathy towards their situation. Show empathy by actively listening, acknowledging feelings, and offering support. If someone is struggling with a personal or work-related issue, offer to help in any way you can.
Celebrate successes and milestones, both personal and professional. This could be a promotion, a new baby (human, feather or fur), or a birthday. Consider creative ways to build relationships and trust with your colleagues, even when you’re not in the same location. Send a card or gift, or organize a virtual celebration. Use team-building tools, collaborative slides, create virtual clubs related to special interests, or even hold virtual happy hours, team games, and workshops during scheduled team building time.
Deliver on commitments
Follow through on your commitments and deliver on your promises. This helps establish credibility and reliability with your colleagues and team members. This can be as simple as responding promptly to an email, completing tasks by deadlines, or sharing progress on projects with key stakeholders. Use project management tools to keep keeping everyone on the same page with task completions. and ensuring that work is progressing as planned. Use these tools to show tasks, track progress, and collaborate with your colleagues. One way to lose trust is to work in a silo and miss deadlines.
Be creative and brainstorm ways you and your remote colleagues can improve trust. By incorporating these and your new best practices into your daily work routine, you can build personal connections and show empathy to your colleagues and team members when working remotely. Learn more in our article: How to Be a Team Player in a Remote Environment
For more training on building trust in the remote workplace, sign up for our Remote Professional Certification. In this certification track, you will learn more about ways to enhance communication and engage with others in order to build professional connections.