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Build trust and success in virtual teams

24.5.2024

Working smoothly in a team operating in a virtual environment requires strong communication and cooperation skills to build trust.

Working in a virtual team can be challenging, especially if you are not used to communicating and collaborating online. Building trust and respect with remote colleagues requires the development of additional skills.

How can you build trust, relationships, and accountability with your remote colleagues? How can you ensure that your project is delivered on time and of high quality?

Here are five tips to help you build trust and success in virtual teams.

1       Set clear and realistic expectations

One key element of successful virtual teamwork is setting clear and realistic expectations for yourself and your team members. All team members need to know which tasks to prioritize and when the work needs to be done. An easy way to ensure this is to use a project management tool that allows everyone to see the status of the work.

Understanding what is expected of team members can help avoid confusion, frustration, and conflict. It can also help you track and evaluate your progress and performance and provide feedback and recognition when needed.

The jointly agreed and followed operating methods, such as internal team communication, task management, and other practices that promote daily work, help all team members act as expected.

2       Communicate effectively and often

Frequent and effective communication is essential in building trust and success in virtual teams. By communicating effectively and frequently, you can build relationships, trust, and transparency with your team members, and foster a sense of belonging and commitment.

Effective communication also means choosing the appropriate communication method for each situation: email, phone, chat, or video call. Instant messaging is suitable for real-time communication, while email is better for formal processes. Video calls, on the other hand, are best suited for sensitive topics, such as giving feedback. In virtual teams, a video call at least once a week builds trust and a sense of community.

To avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations, make sure your message is clear, concise, and respectful. Try to be as active as possible and reply to messages as soon as you can. Remember that a text-based message does not convey the tone or purpose of your message—for example, emoticons bring humanity to communication with both close and distant colleagues!

3       Collaborate

Collaboration with your team members is critical in any virtual team. You can take advantage of your team’s strengths and skills with teamwork and create a positive and productive work environment.

To promote the team’s common goals, openly share ideas, opinions, expertise, and feedback. Receiving feedback from others is also essential.

You can ensure smooth collaboration by being open-minded and flexible. Also, remember to support your team members and respect their diversity and perspectives. In addition, an attitude that promotes cooperation means the readiness to make compromises, negotiate and resolve conflicts constructively, and avoid blaming, criticizing, or avoiding problems.

4       Enhance the virtual team’s work with the right tools

Using the right tools helps build trust and success in virtual teams. So, choose the best tools and platforms for your team’s needs and make sure they are reliable, secure, and user-friendly. Learning to use tools effectively and utilizing their features and functions promotes your work and the team.

For example, you can use video conferencing for face-to-face interaction, chat applications for informal conversations, and cloud-based software for sharing and editing documents.

Storing data and files centrally is a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of a virtual team. Everyone should be able to access them when needed. Changes to files should be made directly to the shared storage space so that everyone can clearly see who last downloaded or edited the file and how.

Project or task management software keeps all team members updated about current and future work. Using a shared calendar also ensures that everyone has equal access to information about meetings, vacations, deadlines, and other important events.

5       Ensure smooth virtual working by developing your skills with the help of micro-learning

Working digitally in virtual teams requires unique interaction and collaboration skills to promote common goals and learning. Trust can be built by showing responsibility and appreciation and giving feedback skillfully by being honest and open but also friendly.

Academy of Brain’s micro courses, lasting less than 10 minutes and available on the intranet or in the Viva Learning application, can help you develop the skills necessary for working in a virtual team, such as collaboration, interaction, and building trust.

A ready-made package of 50 micro-courses can help develop the most important human skills, such as leadership, growth mindset, mental well-being, collaboration, and interaction, as well as trust and safety, quickly and smoothly.

Marko Koskela
Chief Commercial Officer

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