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How to build trust in remote teams?

A high level of trust is necessary for remote team members to establish strong positive relationships. Strong relationships lead to a positive working environment, it supports a culture of learning and leads to good performance.

To be trustworthy:  Use the communication tools​ provided to you effectively (e.g. emails, Slack, video conferencing, Workspace, etc.).

If the team is using a tool that is not familiar to you, research how to use it. Identify which tool is used as the team’s primary mode of communication. Set your notifications so that you are easily informed about urgent and important information. Organize and archive information so that you have a record of communication between your manager, colleagues, and/or reports.

Check your communication tools regularly. Respond promptly.​ It's important to acknowledge when someone has sent you a request. If you can’t act on the request immediately, let the sender know when you will take action. Not responding to messages leaves people feeling ignored and erodes trust. 

Set your working hours.​ In a global remote working environment, time differences will impact your work. Set your working hours and inform your colleagues when you will be available to respond to requests. Emergencies happen, so let your manager know how best to reach you outside of working hours, in case of an emergency. 

Sync your calendar,​ so you stay updated about meetings. If you are unavailable during certain periods of the day, block that time off in your calendar. Remember to place blocks in your calendar when you take leave or when you are off sick. Use your calendar to help remind you of important deadlines and tasks. 

Respect deadlines.​ Your actions speak louder than your words. If you can't meet a deadline, inform your manager as soon as possible, provide good reasons for the delay, then agree and commit to a new deadline. If you don’t know how long a task will take, be honest, research how long it will take, then commit to a deadline.  Get to know your colleagues.​

Social interactions are important. Take time to know what's important to your colleagues, managers, and/or reports. Small talk helps to build rapport. Positive, trusting relationships are built on good rapport.  

Build confidence.​ Building confidence is not only about your confidence, but also about building confidence in others. Acknowledge other people's thoughts and ideas, if someone shares an idea build on it. 

People will trust and listen to you if they feel heard and respected. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas by speaking up in meetings. Contributing meaningfully to discussions shows you are engaged and willing to contribute to the team's success.