#4: Rules of Engagement: Constant Cooperation

by | July 9, 2020 2 Ideas

As we’ve sheltered in place and avoided social contact over the last few months, many of us have thought quite a bit about what the return to office life will look like. How do we share space and physical resources? How will we provide the mental and spiritual support for each other? How can we ensure adherence to policies that are designed to keep us safe?

The answer to each of those questions — and many more like them — could be summed up in one word: Cooperation.

Merriam-Webster defines cooperation as the actions of someone who is being helpful by doing what is wanted or asked for; a common effort. As humans, we are inherently cooperative with one another. This trait has enabled us to thrive and reach new heights of intelligence, understanding and social coordination. Cooperation is the opposite of selfishness.

Though lately it seems like cooperation has suffered a blow in our national discourse and collective identity, it is a resilient quality that is worth elevating and fostering in our day-to-day interactions and particularly in the workplace. As the editors of the Journal Nature explain, “Even in difficult situations, the desire for cooperation would appear to often be nascent and the evidence suggests that we are naturals at it, given the opportunity.”

In the context of the workplace, cooperation means demonstrating a sense of respect for each other. It means maintaining relationships with our coworkers while adhering to policies of social distancing, personal hygiene and workplace cleanliness. Cooperation means paying close attention at All-Staff meetings and other gatherings where key information is disseminated. It means utilizing best practices and established protocols to allow our admin, IT and BIM support teams to operate at peak efficiency. (Thank you, admin, IT and BIM!)

But most of all, cooperation means acknowledging that we are all in this together and we can enact the change we want to see. This strange, unprecedented confluence of pandemic, cultural divisiveness and unbridled social media will not define our future.  Let’s work together — as a project team, as a studio, as a firm, and as a community — to avoid selfishness and promote cooperation and unity.

Join us back here on Tuesday when we will praise your personal expertise and can-do attitude!


Authored by Brendan Post + Mia Allen


  1. Elizabeth Bishop says |

    Nice reminder that as humans, we’re wired for connection – how we connect now is changing, but the underlying need is still there. Following the rules, paying attention, being considerate, cooperation: always important elements of connection, but a great point that what these may mean in effect may be slightly different now. Taking a bit more time to think about how we work together to achieve our shared values and goals is wise advice. Thanks Mia and Brendan!

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