Link Roundup: A High-Functioning Office is a Neighborhood; Online Dating for Jobs; Shmoozin’

+ The Harvard Business Review points out that you don’t want your coworkers to function as strangers and you also don’t want them to pretend to be family; but the most effective middle ground dynamic to cultivate isn’t “friends,” either. It’s neighbors.

Strangers are people with whom we do not have a close connection; if we need their help, we pay them to provide it. Families are people with whom we have a close bond and for whom we do whatever is needed, often expecting nothing in return. In between strangers and family are neighbors — people with whom we have a reasonably close relationship, who offer us help, and expect help in return. It’s not good to have a workplace that consists primarily of strangers, because every interaction becomes a fee-for-service transaction and strangers are not motivated to go above and beyond the specific tasks presented to help the organization fulfill its goals. Moreover, the social environment in a workplace full of strangers does not energize employees to want to come to work.

Likewise, it’s dangerous for most organizations to function as a family, because not all employees will pull their own weight. It’s an inefficient and demoralizing way to work. [Editor’s note: Family is also often inefficient and demoralizing. Can we do anything about that?]

But with our neighbors, we try to balance what we do for them and what we get from them over time. We construct covenants in which everyone shares a common vision and agrees to do what they can to work toward these common interests.

+ Look, it’s online dating for jobs!

+ Shmooze more, get fired less. Wanna keep your job, even during a downturn? Hang out with all those coworkers neighbors. Chat with them on social media. My father-in-law’s career advice for me was always, “Make yourself indispensable.” Possibly that should be amended to, “ … as a social media contact and a drinking buddy after work.”

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