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Tips to build trust amidst return to office battle

Search Remotely Build Trust Rto Battles

Are you worried about the return to the office (RTO) threats and initiatives looming over your head? An order to return to work in a traditional  in person office setting, for many, may mean more than a slight inconvenience. That’s why trust in a working relationship is vital to getting and keeping what you so desperately desire. The opportunity to remain gainfully employed as a remote worker while working from home.

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The purpose of this article is to share tips for building a trusting remote work relationship with your employer.

4 factors of trust in the workplace

Deloitte establishes the four factors of trust as:

  1. humanity
  2. capability
  3. transparency, and
  4. reliability

Deloitte research aside, at the advent of the work from home phenomenon, the onus for building trust was evenly balanced between the employer and employee. Now, the pendulum may have swung largely in the direction of the remote working employee.

Reasons for re-building workplace trust from remote worker perspective

Why? Because the cost for maintaining a trusting relationship with one’s employer may mean the difference between employed and unemployed; permission to work from home in a hybrid arrangement; to mandated return to the office 5 days per week where you are immediately forced to find other living arrangements. Stat. pronto. inmediatamente’. So fort.

As a background, working from home has offered so many advantageous features. Many too numerous to mention: like living in less populated areas where there are lower costs of living, acclimating to a calmer and safer living environment, returning back to nature for improved health and well-being; and experiencing a better work life balance. More importantly, hyped-up inflation has taken a bite out of family incomes and the opportunity to work from home weighs upon everyone with estimates of up to $10,000 saved annually from lowered commuting costs.

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But remote work is a two-edged sword. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco compiled economic data from 2019 to 2021 demonstrating that 60% of the increased sales price of residential properties were due to working from home buyers in search of prime properties.

Not to mention, the threat of higher inflation, Fannie Mae reports that 22% of employees seek to move from their primary abode to places where  the costs aren’t has high.

Researchers point to data showing that many employees who were temporarily allowed to work from home face the prospect of selling homes; some with underwater mortgages aggressively purchased just a few short years ago. The website cited surveys whereby “return to office mandates mean some workers need to choose between selling their homes or losing their jobs, with some unable to recoup the money spent on the property.” Redfin estimates that 10% of current sellers of residential real estate are moving, doing so mainly because of forced return to work employer directives. As one can imagine, circumstances requiring a quick sale of property doesn’t lend itself to profit maximization. Just the opposite, the need to cut one’s losses to reduce further bloodletting can be the norm.

Tips for re-building trust in a remote work environment

Many previously regarded remote-first employers like Amazon, IBM, Apple, Comcast, Disney, and Starbucks have joined the rallying cry for a return to the traditional in office setting. So if you have been threatened with a forced to return to the cubicle for which you have a strong disdain, here are a few tips for building trust. Don’t wait until it is too late!  Forbes cited an article published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) based upon a study of 87,000 business leaders. Maybe you can still right the ship. Here are some suggestions, plus a few of our own:

  • try to establish and maintain a positive relationship with your supervisor and remote team members with regularly scheduled check-ins
  • when given opportunities to share one’s thoughts on corporate goals, successes, initiatives and challenges, don’t hesitate to chime in as a silent employee is a staffer that isn’t heard and soon to be dismissed (literally and figuratively) as underperforming whether true or false
  • demonstrate personal concern for the well-being of others and never under-estimate the outward display of connection with managers, supervisors, team members and remote team leads (do you know their birthday, names of significant others, favorite hobbies?)
  • don’t miss the chance to show and remind supervisors and remote team leaders that you can be depended upon to meet deadlines, benchmarks and annual goals while working from home and with minimal in person and one on one supervision
  • be relied upon to have been the consistent employee and remote team member who has been honest, upfront and courageous in explaining setbacks, barriers to success and potential for missed deadlines
  • establish daily work schedules that are as predictable as if you were punching a 1950s time card into an antiquated on site time clock device
  • predictability is crucial for the remote worker working from home
  • endeavor to meet and or exceed the productivity metrics of those who report to the office
  • voluntarily without griping and unbegrudgingly re-invest the zero commute time saved back into un-clocked overtime (if exempt) for the company


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