Is Remote Work Reducing Trust?

Are colleagues from remote teams less likely to trust one another?

Remote Hill Profile Picture


March 19, 2021

Is Remote Work Reducing Trust?

We've written abundantly about the countless advantages of remote work. But, like anything, potential drawbacks persist as well.

Virtual Collaboration, Virtual Trust

Many people in managerial roles overseeing remote teams appear to be increasingly paranoid about whether their team is really staying on task and productive.

This is especially apparent through the recent surge of "bossware" adoption. However, it remains unclear whether bossware really boosts productivity - or just boosts worker paranoia and demoralization.

In fact, workers are overall more productive when working remotely, even with less hours, so the fact that there is so much demand for bossware appears to be rooted in desire for control rather than business strategy.

Ok, so some managers don't seem to trust their remote workers with all their freedom. But do remote colleagues trust each other?

This might just be a more interesting question.

Some research suggests that virtual meetings may be responsible for increased social tension, and the potential for mistakenly attributing certain innocent behavior or social cues to hostility.

Going remote might lead to more misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and miscommunications. Especially for newer remote teams and workers.


It's just one of those downsides in which only time will tell whether remote teams will adapt to some of the less natural aspects virtual collaboration as opposed to in-person socialization.

They hopefully and likely will, as there are always significant changes in the workforce throughout history which people get used to.

But it's clear that we've found ourselves right within the transition period of one such significant change.

You can also sign up to our free flagship biweekly, no-nonsense remote work newsletter. We'd love to have you!