How to Be There for Your Remote Team

Published On: July 26, 2023Categories: Blog

Over the past 3 years (let’s not mince words–since the start of the COVID pandemic), most of us have been thrown into the waters of remote work, and if office building occupancy rates are any indication, many of us are still working remotely to this day. When most–or even all–of your interactions with your coworkers are behind a screen in a Zoom call, how do you continue to show up for your team and strengthen those bonds when you’re miles apart?

This is the first in an ongoing series about applying the core principles of the FISH! Philosophy while working remotely. Whether you’re an international team that’s been 100% remote since day one or just a regular office adapting to post-pandemic flex schedules and remote work options, this series will explore how the FISH! principles can continue to benefit your workplace, even if that workplace isn’t physically shared amongst coworkers.

Last week we talked a lot about how to build habits that help you Be There for your team–Be There being one of the core principles behind the FISH! Philosophy, as it helps you connect and bond with your team by acknowledging their humanity and responding with love, kindness, and support. So what better place to start our journey than by looking at that same principle as it applies to remote workers?

Combatting remote isolation by Being There for your team

The real reason we’re starting this series by covering the principle of Be There is not just because it’s a nice transition from the last blog post. It’s because it’s often the first principle to fall by the wayside when teams are built remotely–meaning Be There is what every remote team needs to start practicing right now in order to continue being effective into the future.

There are massive benefits to remote work–less commuting, more of an ability for workers to structure a space that works for them, more flexibility with their day-to-day lives, and much more. But one of the immediate drawbacks is that you miss those candid, spur-of-the-moment interactions that help teams bond and become closer to each other.

Think about it: there’s no water-cooler small talk if there’s no shared water cooler. There’s no after-work happy hour if a team isn’t leaving the same office at the same time. There’s no calling someone over “if they have a moment to help” if there’s nobody in the next room to call over. These interactions may feel slight, but they help us build connections and turn workplace associates into friends engaged in a shared community.

Remembering the humans behind the screens

That’s why building a habit out of Being There and practicing it with intentionality is so key for any remote team looking to function effectively–if those moments don’t happen by accident, we need to find ways to make them happen on purpose. We need to make it habitual to reach out to coworkers, subordinates, and others in our organization to check in.

After all, each and every person that’s just a profile pic on Slack is a real human being behind the keyboard. It’s much harder to spot someone having a bad day when you only engage during scheduled meetings, can’t read their facial expressions, or hear the tone of their voice–and these are the moments when showing up for others and practicing Be There is the most important.

One of the best ways you can practice Being There for your remote team is by simply asking “how are you?”–and really meaning it. Small talk often feels perfunctory in a workplace setting; a mere formality before the “real work” begins. But by not only allowing–but encouraging–moments of non-professional chatter, you’re allowing remote teams to build those bonds.

Whether it’s not clamping down too quickly on digressions in shared chat channels or setting aside 5 minutes at the start of your weekly 1-to-1 to genuinely ask about your employee’s life inside and outside of their job, you’re creating that intentional space to make each person feel like, well, a real person–and by extension allow those human spiritual connections to grow.

Digital tools to build real-life connections

Any remote team knows that they’re not a team without their tools–Zoom, Slack, email, file sharing services, all of the tech that keeps our work flowing smoothly and connects us remotely can also be used to foster the personal connections that are just as crucial to our organizational success. All it takes is a little creative thinking!

If your team relies on Slack for everyday communications, consider dedicated channels to off-topic discussion–it may seem like you’re inviting people to slack off (no pun intended), but what you’re really doing is providing that virtual water cooler for people to unwind for a minute, get to know each other, and work all the more effectively when they’re actively collaborating.

If all your meetings are on Zoom, how can you structure your meetings so that they’re not all business? Ice breakers may cause some people to roll their eyes, but imagine a “question of the day” for each check-in–or a rotating chart for break-out rooms so that people get to engage with different members of the organization.

None of these are silver bullets that will instantly create the perfect remote work setup, but rather these are just a few ideas to get you started thinking creatively, opening discussion and Playing with new ways to turn your workplace into a real community that really supports each other.

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • Do you check in with your remote team members to see how they’re doing, emotionally? Or do you only interact with them when a work responsibility requires it?
  • If you used to work at an office but are now remote, what’s one point of connection you miss having with your coworkers? How can that feeling be replicated using remote tools?
  • Take time out of your work day to Play with ideas about how you can foster connection and interpersonal bonding when your team works remotely. What ideas can be implemented as soon as tomorrow?

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and avoid the symptoms of impending burnout. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Executive Briefing

You have probably heard about the Culture Shift in the news. Organizations are struggling to find talent, employee morale is low, retention is a common goal and customers are dissatisfied with buying experiences.

These are all symptoms of an underlying challenge leadership is faced with every day, regardless of the industry. You can look for temporary relief or an overall, long-term cure.

Join us for a 60-minute webinar on the world-famous, award-winning FISH! practices.

Click Here for More FISH! Executive Briefing Information


Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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