It’s more difficult to establish trust when you’re working with a team member remotely, especially one whom you’ve never met. But teammates have to trust each other.
The most efficient approach to building trust is to bring teammates together in-person. There is no faster, more impactful way to build relationships, to get to know each other, than to meet face-to-face. Studies have shown that if a team meets in-person during the first 90 days of the collaboration, the project has a much better chance to succeed.
Zapier aims to bring the team together twice per year. They justify the expense by not having physical offices. However, businesses who have co-located teams and offices, can schedule one in-person meeting each year, rotating developers, one or two members at a time visit the home office.
An added approach used by some distributed tech companies is scheduling weekly or bi-weekly hangouts to enable teams to virtually get together once per week, and do lighting talks, demos, and otherwise share experiences.