Why Some Work Environments Breed Toxic Cultures

The gap between managers and employees is often rooted in a general lack of communication, transparency and trust. In the absence of a supportive work environment, feelings of separation can arise between managers and employees. Trust can help overcome barriers to adapting to teleworking and fosters organizational change and, therefore, can influence how employees adapt to teleworking. In fact, a sense of trust can give telecommuters more confidence in their role in a workgroup or organization and facilitate further adjustments. Trust also means knowing that employees can decide for themselves what is best for their workflow and have confidence in their judgments. Building a good level of trust when employees work from home requires a collaborative approach, and now is a good time for managers to address the lack of trust and any control issues. Managers need to understand that autonomy does not mean less communication with employees. Leadership that is compassionate builds greater bonds between people. It fosters teamwork, increases trust, and strengthens loyalty. Compassionate leaders aim for influence rather than power and micromanagement. They don’t make demands; instead, they encourage. They lead with hope (know your why, your purpose, and passion as it shapes your mindset and what you do every day). They help team members combine their efforts, skills, abilities, insights, passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to work together for the greater good by guiding, acknowledging, and supporting them. The place of work doesn’t matter but transparent communication does. High-level communication about post-COVID-19 labor relations also enhances employee well-being and productivity. This knowledge can enable line managers to build two-way trust in their teams, preparing them for greater success in the continued growth of hybrid and telecommuting. Employees, line managers, teams, and organizations will benefit from the priority of trust as hybrid and telecommuting is changing workplaces and the way we work.

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Image: Top 30 Remote Work Tools for Working Remotely

Technology plays a key role in enabling telecommuting and working. Cloud-based productivity tools and other employee-centric technologies are becoming more popular in today’s workplace, but this sudden large-scale experiment with remote work is sure to bring more lessons learned and room for improvement. As there is a trend towards working from home in the world, it is imperative to create and promote a remote office environment. Working from home may seem like the perfect solution for employees who are tired of hectic commuting, micromanagement bosses, and workplace distractions. Existing research into teleworking suggests that teleworking can be more productive than office work, but the benefits are largely due to the greater autonomy afforded to teleworkers. There are many best practices and tools to simplify the journey to remote work and increase the productivity of teams, but all successful remote work starts with trust. This is the feeling that all leaders hope to evoke in their team and support remote work in a meaningful way when they can demonstrate trust in their employees. Sincerity and two-way communication help build the trust you need to succeed in your telecommuting policy.

To work remotely,

 your company must believe that you can do your job not only without being seen by them, but without constant physical interaction with your teammates. In the best circumstances, trust breeds trust. Experts agree that lack of trust is a major problem in today’s workforce. Therefore, employers should operate in a “high-trust workplace” in which managers and employees feel comfortable and safe in representing themselves. Today, more than ever, companies are in a constant struggle to find, attract and retain the best people. It can certainly be debated that employees don’t leave bad companies but rather bad bosses. However, this happens all the time. Lack of trust makes employees struggle knowing where they stand and whether they’re meeting expectations. Consequently, employees fail to feel a sense of accomplishment and appreciation when their manager doesn’t trust them. Companies may wonder if they can afford to trust their employees, especially those who are far away. Due in part to a lack of trust, only 56% of managers actually allow their employees to work remotely, even if permitted by policy. But in particular, while telecommuting is increasingly required by employees and made possible by technology, most organizations (93%) rely on managers to decide who can and who cannot work remotely. Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) recently made home office complusory. As of December 20, 2021, home office duty applies where this is possible due to the nature of the activity and can be implemented with reasonable effort. However, the freedom of decision remains with the employer and it remains questionable whether the implementation will be crowned with success, after all, the coronavirus is on the rise again with the Omikron variant.

When employees feel that their leaders are not doing their best and are not responsible for it, they lose faith in the team. Finally, work from home employee concerns (including technological disruptions, changing work standards, and conflicts between work and household responsibilities) increase the likelihood that they will fail to fulfill their perceived obligations, further eroding trust. According to the Harvard Business Review, 34% of employees felt that their managers were “unsure of their ability to work,” and more importantly, workers said they needed to be available at all times. About 40% of executives and managers expressed uncertainty about their ability to manage employees remotely. These results indicate a lack of self-efficacy in managing remote work, with self-efficacy referring to belief in one’s ability to cope with difficult situations. According to a study by CXOtoday.com, four out of ten managers agreed that telecommuters tend to perform worse than those in the office, and more than half of the respondents who were unsure of safety were rather negative about this work practice. Managers who reported less autonomy in their jobs, close supervision by their supervisor, and a high degree of mistrust from their supervisor had more negative perceptions of telecommuting and more distrust of their supervisor in relation to their employees. For those managers who reported that their organization had little support for flexible work, the level of self-efficacy in managing remote workers was lower. It seems that when a company is genuinely committed to flexible working, it provides practical support (such as training) and communicates positive messages about the openness of these working practices (such as a willingness to be flexible in specific agreements), both of which seem to increase self-esteem and the effectiveness of managers for key remote employees. Countries with higher levels of interpersonal trust tend to have a higher percentage of employees working from home.

However, if more employees choose to work remotely in the future, it is important that organizations take this knowledge into account. Companies may need to implement new mechanisms to reward and recognize employees, for example, and provide managers with specialized training on how to manage remote teams to avoid workload issues. Some employees have even suggested specific monitoring approaches based on technology to track the time and actions of remote employees on the screen. It also helps increase the overall productivity of employees as they gain the ability to manage their time throughout the day and be accountable for their work. Managers and CEOs must maintain and promote a transparent work culture in which employees can interact at a deeper level.

Trust is hard to build on a remote team, and managers use different tools to check if their remote team is truly committed and honest. Building trust among your team members is difficult in a typical personal work environment, but even more difficult in a remote work environment. When working with remote workers, trust issues can be exacerbated because it is impossible to interact or communicate with colleagues in person. There are obvious trust issues that can arise between remote teams when you can physically see what people are doing. Managers concerned about telecommuting may think they don’t know exactly what their team is doing. One possible explanation could be that employees who show a lower level of trust in their peers and supervisors prefer to work (alone) remotely, as this gives them greater autonomy from people they do not trust, and therefore they are less likely to face such problems.

Trust, transperency and open communication

The best way to describe transparency in the workplace is to create an environment that promotes open communication between managers and employees. Communicating frankly and openly with employees will build trust and make employees happier, more engaged, and ultimately more efficient. Transparency in the workplace is essential to build trust and honesty between employees and their managers. When you communicate transparently, you will find more interaction between your employees and easier cooperation. In fact, numerous studies show that transparency is a determining factor in employee happiness. The importance of transparency in leadership is clear, even when you consider the positive impact it can have on employee productivity. A culture that values transparency in the workplace breeds engaged employees. Employees learn more from each other and can solve problems faster when their leaders are transparent. If you choose to be open and honest with employees, a manager can help them feel valued by offering them feedback. By showing them how much the organization values their input and opinion, the leader creates a foundation of trust and loyalty that enhances employee advocacy, which in turn helps strengthen the employer’s brand. By recognizing this, and even by developing policies to protect employee privacy, transparent leaders demonstrate that they care and will enjoy in exchange for respect and loyalty. 

Employees want to work in an organization that treats them fairly, and a certain degree of openness can effectively build trust. Employees want to work with truly transparent leaders who openly seek new solutions and ideas.

Without strong leaders with communication skills, it is impossible to create an organizational environment based on mutual trust, in which employees constantly strive to achieve the best. Employees who are under the direction of a person who does not have good communication skills are not interested in cooperating with each other. When leaders are unable to communicate effectively, retaining employees, especially high-quality ones, becomes a problem. 

It will be difficult for employees to achieve results, and trust in management will diminish if a toxic environment is cultivated due to inappropriate communication with management.

Lack of transparency in communication with management contributes to the creation of an organizational environment based on mistrust, suspicion and conflict. Employees tend to be just as wary of overly positive leaders as they are of persistently negative ones. Building a foundation of trust with employees requires leaders to create a positive environment in which all team members feel empowered to speak up and solve problems. Transparent leadership means that employees understand the vision of the business and how their efforts are helping to achieve the company’s goals. Transparency in leadership means keeping employees informed, sharing good and bad (no-nonsense), and conscientious feedback from team members. Transparency in leadership means keeping employees in the loop, sharing good and bad (no extra), and welcoming honest feedback from team members. Transparent driving requires a willingness to be honest and open with employees, even if it makes the leader feel a little vulnerable. The importance of transparency in leadership is becoming increasingly evident as it fosters a culture of open communication and responsible behavior in the workplace for both employees and managers. Leaders seeking to develop a culture of transparency in their company open up a number of potential benefits.

Transparency breeds trust, which is closely related to business performance. Many factors increase people’s confidence in the workplace, from diversity and inclusiveness to personal leaders who are more open and transparent to the team. Transparent leadership is the key to building a culture of trust between leaders and employees. If you can trust yourself and let others trust you, then transparency is a very important thing. If you are transparent, especially in your worst moments, you will actually strengthen your leadership as people begin to trust you as a person and therefore respect you more as a leader. When teammates see that you are willing to be honest and open, they are more likely to trust you. Team members from companies with transparent cultures are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay.

When the leader and the team focus on transparent and frequent communication, natural relationships will develop naturally. Based on trust, people can cooperate better and develop faster as a team, making it easier to build motivation, retain high-performing employees, and attract new talent. Establishing trust in the leadership of the organization requires the personal effort of the leader himself. Leaders must create a culture of trust by sharing information quickly and free of charge and building relationships with employees and other stakeholders that enable their organizations to thrive. They earn this trust by communicating openly and often; have a clear and concise policy, strategy and communication processes; launch formal and informal communication programs; and regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your own communication, as well as of your team and organization. They are consistently open about their people management and performance measurement policies, fair supplier selection, communication with staff and stakeholders, and more. Transparent leaders strive to practice what they preach, set crystal clear expectations, and communicate effectively with each member of their team.

Employees need to be able to trust you as their employer to provide them with the skills, tools, and guidance they need to do their jobs well, and to create a remote work environment that is conducive to work, team and open communication. 

Remote work is a test of endurance, but also an opportunity to build trust and embrace the new normal and shape the future of work.

Original Source:

Source : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-trust-decides-success-failure-remote-working-yahya-mohamed-mao

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