Five ways to build trust across remote, hybrid and in-office teams

As hybrid and remote working models establish themselves as in-office working’s perfectly respectable cousin, the matter of building trust moves up the HR agenda. Team members are now working in many different locations and situations, with varying levels of independence and opportunities to connect with managers. Companies need to ensure that, regardless of all these differences, employees are treated equally and fairly.


In this context, Forbes has recently published five tips on how to help build high levels of trust. Please see below for a quick synopsis.

1. Relaunch the team with gusto!

Every team needs a reboot to mark the beginning of a new project, working model or change of focus. Whether that relaunch is virtual or in-presence, such gatherings help build interpersonal bonds and team cohesion. So embrace them with gusto not just once but multiple times.


2. Level the playing field for remote and in-office team members

Hybrid working can lead to real or perceived unfairness or inequality, which must be addressed to keep team and individual morale intact. Everyone should have equal access to the manager and awareness of what is going on in the office. Managers should show empathy and support for all types of workers, doing whatever it takes to help them feel connected to the rest of the team.

Avoid the communication inequality that can arise when half the team is together in one room and can chat freely, while the other half is sitting alone behind a Zoom screen. Encourage everyone to join the meeting remotely, even when in the office.


3. The team leader needs to over-communicate

Increased communication from the team leader – both in terms of frequency and tools used (email, video, face-to-face, etc.) – plays a crucial role in successful hybrid teams. Accessibility to the team leader must be equal for all workers, regardless of location.


4. Understand each team member’s preferred working style

As part of that increased communication, managers should find out how team members prefer to work and what they can do to support that. This refers to things like workers’ preferred level of autonomy and favourite modes of communication, and what times of the day they are most effective or creative. Managers can then schedule meetings accordingly. This shows they care, establishes trust and sets team members up to have a successful, productive and rewarding day.

You can create a communication charter detailing everyone’s preferred working styles so everyone benefits from the knowledge.


5. Establish new hybrid team rituals and norms

Routines and rituals help foster a team culture and identity, build empathy and fight social isolation.  Taking the shape of daily stand-up meetings, drinks on a Friday, or starting each meeting by catching up on non-work topics, they can also bring an element of fun to the workplace. Take a moment to consider the habits and rituals that your team created during lockdown, and consider how to adapt them to your new working environment.


So there’s a lot that we can do to promote trust across remote, hybrid and on-site teams. HR professionals should continue to experiment to find out what works best for their organisation, and be transparent about what they’re doing and why.


The team at ABL hopes that this article offers some food for thought. If you’d like to add your voice to the discussion, please get in touch. And, if you’d like any help with the recruitment element of your challenge, we’d love to hear from you. We are the UK’s leading multilingual recruitment agency and we’re here to help!