Last year was our Year of Sustainability. We wanted to focus on fine-tuning and adapting our processes for our growing team. This meant a lot of procedure and policy updates. We also worked on how we use our software tools and added some new ones. We still saw growth but underpinning our growth was stability and intention around how we are working together.
I think we were successful in creating the foundation for a larger team and that allows us to look forward. But when Jaclyn and I were discussing What is our word for 2024? neither of us had an immediate answer.
“What about 'Cohesion,' ” Jaclyn suggested. She sent me the definition from Vocabulary.com: “When the parts of the whole work or fit together well, they are cohesive, like a cohesive family whose members pitch in with everything from making dinner to painting the house.”
While cohesion wasn’t a love-at-first-sight word for us, it is a slow burn of a romance—and sometimes those are better. The rightness of that word grew on us the more we thought about it.
Our team is bigger than it was a year ago. And we have built our business as a long-distance one. We don’t have office space and we only met as a team twice last year. This means that building a cohesive team who trust each other takes some effort and thoughtfulness on all our parts. According to Health.gov: “Social cohesion refers to the strength of relationships and the sense of solidarity among members of a community.”
Post-pandemic, we are all pretty adept at working collaboratively online. We use Slack for daily (hourly) chats with the teammates we are working with. We meet online to talk things out and see each others' faces while we discuss projects, to connect personally and professionally. This includes monthly meetings with the entire team.
This works to connect us. Last summer, we had a team fun day at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. This got us away from our computers and let us have in-person conversations, and it went pretty well. But what a difference six months makes! We got together again in December for a Christmas book exchange over brunch and a team photoshoot. The atmosphere was more comfortable. Everyone knew each other just that much more and we could more easily laugh, talk, and enjoy being in the same space.
The extra effort we put in between our in-person meetings was and is worthwhile, for our team and our clients. We tend to have ongoing relationships with our clients, working for months or years with the same people. When we balance that personal and professional connection with our clients, we can really enjoy the partnerships and collaboration.
That sense of social cohesion adds to workplace wellbeing and is something we want to continue to build. Good communication within our team and with our clients is fundamental. None of us do it perfectly every time, but when we have that social cohesion, we have social capital (or goodwill and understanding) with each other that allows us to discuss, adjust, and create better deliverables. Having that level of trust makes us all aim higher and gives us the energy to keep working hard for each other.
As Jaclyn said at the end of last year’s Word of the Year blog, “I love our team.” That is something that hasn’t changed, and this connection is what we want to foster this year amongst ourselves and with our clients.
We are looking for clients who want a cohesive, collaborative working relationship. We believe that when we have that connection with clients, our understanding of their needs and expectations only gets better with each project. Our writers bring an important set of skills that work together to make us a diverse and capable team who work well together. Contact Scriptorium to work with you on your writing and instructional projects.