Managers who rely too much on e-mail risk compromising their teams’ performance, a new study says.

The reason? While a great tool for exchanging information, e-mail is weak at building trust. And teams need both information and trust among members to do their best work.

Researchers from George Mason University and the University of Illinois tested the trust responses of 232 students organized in groups. Result: Groups that met face to face were more trusting – and better able to complete tasks – than those that communicated by e-mail. Groups that used videoconferences fell in between.

The researchers recommend that managers get all their people – including remote workers – together at intervals to “recharge” mutual trust.

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