Lowering Social Distance
Jacoba Aldersebaes, The Climate Trust
August 25, 2017
When considering a career with any organization, it is important to take into account the culture that you may be joining. The Climate Trust works hard to ensure a healthy, collaborative culture where team members enjoy working together to further the mission of the organization. Our efforts include something we like to call ‘lowering social distance,’ which is just a fancy way of saying we make a conscious effort to get to know our colleagues as real people outside of our daily office interactions. Who would have known that going for a drink or volunteering together would help break down silos and encourage empathy and closeness—all of which leads to a stronger (more fun!) organization.
As part of the onboarding process, new team members receive a list of The Trust’s cultural values. Our team collectively chooses the six most important values that we exemplify through our work together. This list is reviewed on an annual basis with input from the entire team.
Each quarter, the whole team takes part in an outing that builds camaraderie, and inspires exploration of the outdoors and our vibrant urban community. It is important that we create the space to spend quality time together, while feeling proud of the work that we accomplished during the past quarter. This year, we have been able to do quite a few new activities including an outing to Pips and Bounce for a friendly Ping-Pong competition, and a picnic in the park; playing yard games and getting to spend time outdoors.
We’re looking forward to upcoming opportunities to lower social distance before the year is over. Activities are likely to include family members and, almost always, dogs. Our office has an open bring-your-dog-to-work policy, and it wouldn’t be a fully satisfying outing without our furry team members.
As part of the generous benefits package, each employee is given 16 hours of paid volunteer time to use throughout the year. These hours can be used during regularly scheduled work time to help other community organizations. Many of our team use their volunteer time to sit on boards for other nonprofit organizations, or via one-off opportunities and community events.
Lowering social distance is a great way to get to know your coworkers and make the time spent at your job more enjoyable—all while building a more cohesive, productive team. You’d be surprised how much of an impact a few hours with your team can make!