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Solutions For More Community At Work?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the buffet-followed-by-orgy dept.

Communications 205

CrunkCreeper writes "I work at a tier-2 hosting company (SAP, web servers, Citrix, databases, etc.). I started working at this location two years ago in January. The company had anywhere from 20-30 other employees, and now we are just over 100. People with all different IT experience are employed. At one end of the spectrum, you have accounting, billing, and sales. At the other end you have the help desk, analysts, and engineers. In the past we were hiring mainly people in their 20s, and now we're hiring more senior people in their 30s and 40s. Incidentally with our expanded demographic and recently aggressive hiring, people are not as familiar with each other as they used to be. This happens to some extent and will continue to happen more the larger our company grows, but I would like to curb the corporate feel a bit. I'm trying to bring family or community feel back to the company. The reason for this need is that great ideas are normally discussed in non-formal environments. Beside this fact, I want people to genuinely have more fun and decrease the sometimes uncomfortable discussions with 'that guy' from 'that department.' Being an IT company, I find it more natural for collaboration via computer, but welcome more traditional methods too. How does your company keep or build a community environment using technology?" Read on for some more on how it works at CrunkCreeper's workplace, and give suggestions for how to make things better." Here is what we currently use for collaboration, both formal and non-formal:

IRC — We have used a dedicated IRC server from the start, and it helps out tremendously when people use it (the Linux folks use it heavily), but it doesn't entice a vast majority of the employees. It's used mainly for BS'ing, but also becomes a very important tool when things are awry.

Facebook — Most people are on Facebook, but obviously there are details about the company that cannot be discussed, which is an issue since most of these profiles are public and it is a somewhat common practice to be friends with some clients.

Exchange 2007 — E-mail is the main source of communication, but can't it be painful sometimes? Everyone on the IT side receives alerts about tickets and other automated checks of systems. On any given day I generally receive 100+ alert messages. When we're not reading our filtered alerts into specified folders, general discussion about projects and fixing issues usually is anywhere from 20-60 messages a day. Quite honestly, I'm sick of e-mail and don't wish to get any more of it. I know a lot of you feel the same way.

Phone — Just using the ol' phone is the other primary way of communicating with the customer, but not ideal for communicating ideas with others at the same time. We have bridges, but they're only used for conferences with customers.

Company Meetings — We have these a few times a year. They're fully catered and consist of introducing the new people, talking about new contracts, and congratulating others on successful implementations . These generally last about an hour or so at the end of the workday. Unfortunately dedicating to these meetings is not the easiest on people's schedules, especially the help desk, and is not an open forum.

There are forms of collaboration that I have been thinking of. To list some, there is phpBB, Elgg, Jabber (discussed a few times before), and Google Wave (hard to push currently). Personally I think that a closed social networking platform would be ideal, where ideas can be posted and read at any time. Tell me what you think of these ideas, if there are more suitable solutions, or what you use at work."

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Ideas: (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966422)

One thing I cannot stress enough is to hire culturally Americanized workers. Younger, um, "ethnic" workers are more likely to be Americanized if they have served in the American military or are at least second-generation immigrants. The clarity and fluency of their English is a good indicator of their desirability.

Do not hire first-generation Asian, African, or Latino immigrants unless they were already Westernized elsewhere. First-generation immigrants' cultural traits are generally undesirable. They are impossible to communicate with and that alone reduces overall productivity. They are very xenophobic and they will congregate into their respective groups and, in their native language, will badmouth and gossip* about everybody who is not like they are.

There is a lot of cultural B.S. involved. For example - at a very F.O.B.-dominated company I worked at, the boss was very short. Being short is very undesirable for a male in that boss' culture, so all of the caucasians sat on the floor so as not to tower over him and make things awkward. Fuck that, man. In the modern American workplace the boss would make jokes about his shortness and everybody would respect him for it.

Now that that's out of the way, do not feel upset if everybody dosen't want to be bestest buddies with each other. Many people just aren't social or they compartmentalize their work and play behavior. They're there to work, not to gossip about Donna's rack at the water cooler. In my experience, company meetings are only two things - free food and being forced to hear the latest rah-rah bullshit propaganda from leadership who would lay me off if cutting one more head adds a few hundred to their bonus.

* Many of you will say I just did that. That shit's okay when venting anonymously online. It's not okay in the modern American workplace.

Re:Ideas: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966472)

307 words, 3 minutes after the story was posted, you got some blazing fast hands.

Re:Ideas: (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966524)

See the little "*" by his name? He's a subscriber and bestowed upon such a brotherhood is the gift of future sight.

Re:Ideas: (1, Offtopic)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966526)

Its called a subscription to Slashdot. It lets you view stories 45 minutes before they are actually posted for the general public. Gives you time to think of a good comment. Anyone with an asterisk (*) next to their username has one.

Re:Ideas: (1)

MortenMW (968289) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966544)

Propaganda has to be fast :)

Re:Ideas: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966540)

To add to Ethanol-fueled's racially prejudice, but reality based observations:

Many F.O.Bs will still have total loyalty to the motherland, and will be stealing your intellectual property and trade secrets left, right and centre.

Re:Ideas: (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966550)

I think there's a huge variance in culture of foreign-born folks, even if culturally-American is your main goal. I see a ton of foreign (mostly Asian) students in CS grad school, and they vary from barely able to communicate in English and no interest in American culture, to pretty comfortable and well-connected with their peers of all backgrounds. Time makes some difference: someone who came to the U.S. at 18 and went to an American university for 4 years is much more likely to be comfortable with the local culture than someone who moved to the U.S. after all their schooling was completed. What kind of family they came from matters also--- someone who grew up in a generally liberal, cosmopolitan environment will probably adapt better than someone from a more isolated, conservative background.

I do agree xenophobia is the biggest potential flashpoint. In particular, I have heard some... not very tactful... comments from immigrants about American blacks, the kinds of things that even racist rural white Mississippians would, in 2010, know you can't say in public. (This isn't specific to Asian immigrants--- I've also heard white European immigrants, especially from Russia or eastern Europe, say such things.)

Re:Ideas: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966634)

the kinds of things that even racist rural white Mississippians would, in 2010, know you can't say in public.

 
You haven't been in the deep South recently. There isn't anything they won't say.

Re:Ideas: (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966696)

I lived in Atlanta for several years, and people like that at least wouldn't say things like that to me, even if they might've amongst themselves.

Re:Ideas: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966856)

You haven't been in the deep South recently. There isn't anything they won't say.

And why shouldn't they? Most of what they're saying is perfectly true. It turns out the dumb rednecks knew what the rest of us should have 40 years ago. Who knew?

Re:Ideas: (3, Interesting)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966996)

You probably haven't been here recently, either (Thank Deity...).

I live in a part of the South where a high proportion of the population is actually 'people from up North', and I can tell you that racial prejudice is not a latitude-defined problem. In fact, of the people I've known in the 40 years I have lived in the small-town South, it is frequently those whose families have been here far longer than most, like since Kings Grant times, who are the quickest to get pissed off at others indiscriminate use of racial slurs. IME, prejudice and bigotry are, sadly, something that you'll find everywhere about equally, regardless of location in relationship to the equator, or the color of the skin of the bigot, or even things like level of education and/or intelligence. No one area - or people - has a corner on that market.

So stuff your overused and under-accurate generalities where the sun don't shine. Right up there next to your head.

Re:Ideas: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966868)

You should hear what Africans (at least the educated ones with english accents) say about American Blacks.

Re:Ideas: (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966560)

Do you recommend hiring other xenophobics?

Re:Ideas: (3, Insightful)

buanzo (542591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966604)

Troll. And fascist. BTW, Latinos are in the West. And, FWIW, "America" is an entire continent, not just the United States *OF* America...

Re:Ideas: (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967004)

Troll. And fascist.

BTW, Latinos are in the West.

And, FWIW, "America" is an entire continent, not just the United States *OF* America...

Please, we'd rather forget that if we can....

You fail at grammar argument. (2, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967120)

Nowhere, EVER, does "America" refer to an entire continent. That's because there is a North America and a South America. "The Americas" can refer to both continents combined, or if you want to stretch it, even "America" can refer to both continents combined.

But context matters. When using English, "America" in the singular almost always means "United States of America". Especially in comments on a website based in the US.

Not that the rest of the GP's post makes any sense.....

Re:Ideas: (1, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967430)

The attitude in my original post is not just that of Americans. If I were going to live in Mexico or China, or anywhere else for that matter, then I would seriously immerse myself with my host country's language and social/behavioral norms. It's common fucking courtesy.

People who immigrate to America have the luxury of not being expected to adapt to the social and behavioral norms of America. Americans such as myself who believe that they should are labeled fascists or nationalists. America is a big melting pot. Shouldn't immigrants make more effort to, you know, melt a little?

Facebook for enterprise (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966426)

There are many enterprise social software tools now available, such as http://lotuslive.com

Re:Facebook for enterprise (2, Interesting)

stonertom (831884) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966864)

There are also OSS tools. I had a play with BoonEx Dolphin [boonex.com] recently, and it did lots of the "internal Facebook" sort of stuff. It was pretty easy to deploy, and allows nice little bits like chat/walls/video/photos. Might be overkill for a small group though. Places I've worked, Jabber/XMPP is really handy. I found that IM neatly bridges the gap between "warrants a phone call" and "can wait until you check your email". Also it's a far better way to get alert messages.

Re:Facebook for enterprise (1)

ingulsrud (568946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966982)

Yammer [yammer.com] is trivially easy to try out. It has become a key source of information and strengthens community at my job.

For chemists (0, Flamebait)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966428)

For chemists, solutions are things that are all mixed up!

Its simple, (5, Funny)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966466)

Its simple,get a water cooler

Re:Its simple, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966628)

Yah, that will bring back great high school memories.

Re:Its simple, (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966850)

It's simple, get a kegerator

Fixed that for you.

Seriously though, there's nothing like alcohol for helping people get to know each other better, in a less formal setting.

Re:Its simple, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967052)

Absolutely. Every month or so, have beer and catered food on a friday afternoon. Improves moral and allows for socializing.

I know you're trying to be funny, but... (5, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966960)

You actually hit this nail on the head.

The submitter entirely misses the point when he asks "How does your company keep or build a community environment using technology?"

Answer: YOU DON'T!

You build a community through SOCIAL ACTIVITY! That means get rid of as much technology as possible.

There is no single answer here, as it's going to depend a lot on culture. One thing that will definitely not work in Utah is to stock beer in the fridges and on the occasional Friday afternoon have managers pull their groups into a free-beer (or beverage of choice) activity. Or twice a year blow a paid day and have everyone go somewhere as a company outing.

No matter what you do, the most important part is LEAVE THE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CUBE!

Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967328)

Nonsense. Vee haff vays to make you love your covorkers, my dear Raehl. Ferry painvoll vays.

Re:Its simple, (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967426)

This got modded funny.. but you actually nailed it on the head!

It's been my experience that "inner-office communication tools" generally don't get used.. or if they do.. it's because people are forced to use them.

You're doing it backwards.. people seek out tools when they need to communicate.. they don't communicate because tools are provided.

What you need is an area where people will tend to "bump into each other"..

Like a water cooler.. or a kitchen.. or if you want to go extreme.. even a little room with chairs and maybe a pool table where people can get away from their work for a few minutes.

You might also want to get some "silly office game" type stuff going. Have a white board somewhere where people post math problems.. word problems.. or whatever. AND don't formalize it.. don't write a web app to keep track of it.. just stick a white board up with some markers and an eraser near by and write "rock songs NOT about girls, drugs, or rock n` roll:". This kind of thing regulates itself. When people get tired ot the topic.. someone will erase it and put a new one.. some will last days.. some will last hours.. great "ice breaker".

MediaWiki (4, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966468)

I found internal wikis to be a huge boost at my old job. At my current job everyone seems to do similar things using word files passed around over email which are like islands in the sea of information, easy to lose, easy to become outdated, etc.

Re:MediaWiki (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966514)

I work for a large company and mediawiki horrified senior management. They want information to be controlled. Everything on on the internal network is there because they want it there. I was in middle management when I put it in. It pleased a lot of my peers but pissed off management to no end.

Re:MediaWiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966552)

Try Confluence. It's like Mediawiki, but better. Major feature though is ACL, so you can assign groups their own wikis, but still make public pages (policies and whatnot).

Re:MediaWiki (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967390)

I worked for a large company and was asked to implement a company wide wiki. They were quite happy with MediaWiki. They did ask me to hack in authentication via the internal network standard, but they were happy to have it. So it depends on the clue level of management.

Re:MediaWiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967394)

I've definitely seen senior management try to control the flow information within the office as well. I used to work at an office with a private IRC server. People could join if they wanted and chat or discuss work-related stuff. Then management made it *mandatory* to be in the IRC at all times and put in bots that basically told us we weren't working fast enough every two minutes. So everyone from the old IRC would join, minimize it, and then join an off-site public IRC server where we would just do our normal thing... which included passing back and forth the root passwords for dozens of servers every day. This is what happens when you try too hard to control the way people do their jobs.

I also recommend... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966700)

buying a company Sybian to sit atop the conference room table, and asking all female employees if they'd care to ride it during each meeting.

I've never been a fan of it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966470)

Maybe it's just me, but I don't go to work for "community". Don't get me wrong; I like what I do and we are all cordial at work and everything, but at the end of the day I don't really want to be your friend. Maybe this makes me "that guy", but that's fine with me; I just prefer to keep the professional and personal aspects of my life as separate as possible.

Re:I've never been a fan of it. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966858)

Maybe it's just me, but I don't go to work for "community". Don't get me wrong; I like what I do and we are all cordial at work and everything, but at the end of the day I don't really want to be your friend. Maybe this makes me "that guy", but that's fine with me; I just prefer to keep the professional and personal aspects of my life as separate as possible.

I felt that way when I worked in a large office for a major corporation. Mostly because the socialization was perfunctory and not genuine, and could be filed under "office politics" more than anything. I saw how people gossipped about the relationships and private lives of others, and it was not in a compassionate or positive light. I quickly ended up feeling the same way that you do. Simply put, those are not the sort of "friends" I care to have. Though unrelated to me, my real friends are more like family members and this provided quite a contrast against this sort of childish politicking and vying for advantage. I was very good at what I did and enjoyed the work. I really just wanted to come in, do my job, and go home but was required to humor those who wanted to turn work into a social club.

I was convinced that a lot of these folks had no social life whatsoever outside of work, and were trying to compensate for that by imposing on others by means of the corporate hierarchy. It really showed in the undue and greatly exaggerated importance that minor meetings and events had for these folks. It's like organizing little lunches and get-togethers was the only time they felt significant or important, which frankly was sad to see. I'm all for being on good friendly terms with co-workers, but I hope the inquirer of this Ask Slashdot doesn't take it too far and replicate this sort of maladaptive behavior.

Re:I've never been a fan of it. (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967418)

I think you're missing out. Its the community at work that decides whether a job is a soul sucking, burnout inducing hole or someplace you can actually enjoy going to every day. Its not about office parties or other forced socialization, but being able to talk to your coworkers and enjoy it, being able to laugh at work together, etc. If I had to work somewhere again where there was no friendship I think I'd get suicidal- it just makes that huge a difference to actually enjoy 1/3 of your life.

Don't install anything (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966480)

Back before everybody at work had internet access we had newsgroups. Then I installed mediawiki, mainly for work, but you could use it for anything. Then somebody took a dislike to newsgroups and replaced it with phpbb (which I dislike) then about the same time external internet access was switched on and I pretty much stopped talking online with my co-workers.

But if you want to have a work community start an online community on an external system. Let people from work log on but don't associate it with the work place. Personally there are a few people I work with who I would choose to socialise with, but the rest I would rather have as little to do with as possible.

Not always a good thing. (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966510)

I have experience of working in a "community spirited" organisation. From the sound of it, it was larger than the one you have. It was terrible.

Getting a decision made was almost impossible, as *everyone* had to be consulted, included and involved in every department, for every action (or so it felt like) - just in case it would affect them, and so they didn't feel "excluded". However, once you start asking for people's opinions they all feel obliged to offer something, or to make a suggestion, or to ask if you've considered some other (no matter how dumb) alternatives. Whatever answers you give, you end up offending someone.

Better to have a place with a degree of compartmentalisation, but with professionalism and trust so that sometimes or most-times you can JFDI without having to spend 6 months tip-toeing around, trying to build a consensus from people who don't have the depth of specialisation that you have.

A very high technology idea (5, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966512)

A room with a coffee machine, one or two tables and some up-to-date newspaper will make people sit during their break and talk about the news.

Re:A very high technology idea (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966766)

seconded - now you're moving away from the geeky 20-year olds you're simply finding that the usual geeky means of communication isn't suitable for everyone. In fact the 20-year olds will find this too as they age.

So you have to go back to the traditional face-to-face stuff, meetings happen naturally round the coffee machine, the canteen, the smoking area (especially this place as I find people like to spend time out there chatting instead of working.. go figure!) you just need to encourage this kind of communication.

Bear in mind people will be happy to talk to others, but won't initiate the communication - so you have to find reasons to make that happen. That means finding ways to put 2 people from different areas to work on something together.

Re:A very high technology idea (1)

mdf356 (774923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966836)

Or do like at my current workplace: put a keg of beer in the cafeteria. Friday starting at 4 is beer and chips time. But sometimes you just need a beer on Tuesday after a hard day...

Re:A very high technology idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966874)

Yup, seen a free coffee room at many good small companies. Very useful.

On a more serious note, the company could use Slashdot to discuss ideas, just as he's done. ;-)

Internal "rotations" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966542)

Bring the new hires in and then rotate them through each department/group in the company. Give them a day at each location to see what goes on there and meet/interact/tag along behind the group. It might take a week or two to get them through the entire company, but you will end up on a first name basis with most people and have a better appreciation for what their job entails.

Leagues... (5, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966580)

Back in the "old days" employees organized golf, bowling, softball, or whatever leagues. Even something like a fantasy football league that only meets a few times a year will help people get to know each other.

Beyond insightful (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967176)

Nobody gets close working on work-related projects. It's the non-work things you have in common with people that makes them something other than their position. Unfortunately, you can't force this from the top, and your HR department can't be tasked with making everybody like each other*. You will need to get the ball rolling for extracurricular clubs. Note: this will cost company time, both when you set it up, and every time an event occurs. Golfers and bowlers will leave 10 minutes early to hit the links/lanes, and then waste another 20 minutes the next morning discussing the particulars of the event. It's worth it - worth every dollar.

Sports: Golf, bowling, flag football, (insert other sports as appropriate)
Arts: Dinner/show clubs (you provide busses, if possible), singing groups (a holiday chorus that sings at local events or ret. homes)
Environmental/Community Service groups
Anything where you have a group of people that cuts across the company (i.e. - no correlation to work stuff) is good.

Help out with meeting space, minor cost items (weekly gift for lowest foursome, maybe a small trophy at the end, a room for group meetings or practices), but mostly leave them alone. If you meddle, it will backfire.

Finally, understand that there will be some people who completely separate work from play - they're there for a paycheck, and have no desire to interact. Offer them inclusion, but mostly let them be.

*The "company picnic" is about the worst function ever to try and engender camaraderie. You throw people together who interact in smaller groups, with interest completely apart from the activities you will provide.

Virtual Workspace Experiences (2, Informative)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966588)

I work for a small company where all but two of the employees work remotely from our homes. We are an engineering-consulting company and are very dependent upon each other for we each have very different skill-sets. Here is my impression on how it works for us;

1. The hiring process is very prolonged, taking weeks and multiple interviews with many people. Only part of this is for the technical skills necessary to do the kind of work we do. The interview process is to make sure that our new hires are cultural fits into our work model and are capable of self-starting and have initiative.

2. We keep in contact constantly by telephone, GoToMeeting, email and collaborative work assignments.

3. While we have owners who are also employees we work in a very dynamic manner. It is not unusual for a very new person to be the senior of a manager/owner on certain projects.

4. We all share the same goals for our company. We know what is happening, what is important at the moment and the need to be completely flexible.

As we grow more we are certain to eventually develop some sort of central office but the heart and soul of the company will be spread across the company.

Two words: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966594)

Nerf Guns

Re:Two words: (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967038)

Depends on the environment. I worked for Florida Internet back when mom and pop ISP's were more common. At Flinet, many forms of office politics could be handled by a good old fashion nerf gun fight. However when we were later bought out and assimilated into our new parent company, they took less kindly to us taking to the halls with cushy little nerf missiles flying in all directions. (The looks we'd get from Sales, you'd think they wore suits when they were at home as well) Something about the corporate environment leaches peoples desire to be carefree and jubilant. Of course this was like 12 years ago, I'm sure some of my inner child is starting to atrophy from too much corporate exposure as well having been long deprived of nerf gun use. I hardily approve of their use as a community building device.

Re:Two words: (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967434)

Unless they outright ban it, why do you care how sales looks at you? Hell, that would cause me to aim one at them.

Older Guy (3, Informative)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966596)

As an older guy in your scenario (40ish), I'd have to say that I don't want to socialize more with most of my co-workers unless there is a charge number in it. As with the rest of life my desire to be around my co-workers follows the 80/20 rule. In this case, about 80% of my co-workers should not be near me without a charge-number.

Sheldon

Re:Older Guy (1)

oheso (898435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967224)

... and the 20% are hot?

buy an espresso machine (4, Funny)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966612)

and take a barista class. a couple classes in rebellions and revolutions 101, too. and perhaps some study of war, peace, and public speaking. shoot the computers.

Thats a lot of autmoated junk email (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966614)

100+ emails a day from automated checks? Talk to whomever set these checks up and they surely will help you curtail the flow. I've been in "automated monitoring" for years and usually when people get a lot of email it's because:
- The monitoring system performing these checks hasn't been tended to for awhile
- People become passive with email alerts because they can filter them into email boxes (ignored or glanced at once a day/week), causing the problem to get worse as time passes because "I get all this email all the time, but I can easily ignore it, so I hardly notice 2x more"
- Some people/companies/groups LOVE setting an alert in an automated system and blasting out every alert to an email distribution list because it's easy to maintain....and then people get used to all this junk automated alerts filling up their inboxes...then they filter them/delete them off.
- Some people love getting all that spam because they think they're "staying informed" on what's going on. In reality they just use it as their own personal database when things go south so they aren't the one guy/manager who didn't know there was xyz outage when upper management asks them.

Having said all that, I would say to have all these alerts be posted on something "central" that all of IT (and management) can just look at whenever they want to know what's going on with the systems when something arises. If they're willing to use it, that *might* quickly bring everyone together/up to speed, at least when things go south, and keep some sort of communal feel that everyone is supporting the "entire company" as opposed to "my stuff, which is always the most important". It could keep the junk mail down as well.

Re:Thats a lot of autmoated junk email (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967252)

A 100+ emails a day is quite a low number even if they only have a few hundred servers. Then again, places I've worked use email as a back up method of reporting a problem as well as a webpage / app that reports it as well. The idea for the redundant monitoring is that if the monitoring server's apache goes down, or the app stops working, at least we'll get an email on it, and visa versa. Between disk space, strange logs, run away processes, garbage collection times that start taking too long, broker services, port monitoring, and much more, 100+ is a drop in the bucket once you have a sufficiently large operation.

Job security (5, Insightful)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966616)

People will get along with people they know they are going to be working with for a long, long time. People aren't going to form emotional attachments to people who may mysteriously vanish from their cubicals after the next quarterly results. Older workers know the game ... the younger ones are still naive about what lays ahead.

Re:Job security (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966750)

Plus, older people will already have a well established circle of friends so won't necessarily feel the need to make more. That doesn't mean that they'll be cold or stand-offish, but it does mean they won't necessarily feel the need to be best buddies with every 20-something, who only wants to talk about what 20-somethings talk about. They will also have different styles of social lives, such as having to get a baby-sitter whenever they want to go out, so the possibility of spontaneous gatherings or beer-busts after work won't necessarily appeal.

Re:Job security (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966804)

Yup, as a new employee, its definitely nicest to be welcomed by nobody, ignored by the whole lot, and generally avoided because the established crew doesn't believe anyone new will last long enough to make it worth their while. Certainly inspires the new comer to skip browsing the wanted ads, when no one at the company interacts with, let alone befriends them.

I've worked at places outside of IT/software development, and often people are friendly regardless. It really doesn't take much effort to be nice to someone. Perhaps its the cubicle environment. Or perhaps the non-social stereotype associated with computer-people is more accurate than we like to believe... (Or perhaps I keep having a poor experience with the software companies I work at...)

Re:Job security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967108)

Sorry about that, but IT attracts introverts, and the work itself tends to make people somewhat unbalanced.... unlike lets say sales or journalism, where a core part of the job involves thinking about people and what makes them tick.

If you stay in IT, you might find a smaller, fledgling company more friendly than a big established firm.

Re:Job security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967214)

Older workers know the game ... the younger ones are still naive about what lays ahead.

Actually, I think the younger ones are the less naive ones. Most of the sharp young cookies I know expect to have "promoted themselves" by going to a different company in 2 years. They're not expecting be be around along enough to form any foolish attachments.

After all, no one OWES you a job (and vice versa), amiright?

Giant Hot Tub (2, Funny)

Timoteo47 (1080787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966618)

In Santa Cruz, it is customary for employees at high tech companies to have a few beers at a local pub after work on Friday, grab some dinner and then head to the CEOs or VPs house for naked hot tubbing. It's a great way to get to know each other and and no one has anything to hide. SCO even had their own hot tub in the office court yard.

You're solving the wrong problem (5, Insightful)

zitsky (303560) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966620)

I've worked in several startup companies that grew quickly. You can't *make* people want to get to know each other or spend more time together. You're fighting the natural changes that happen when a company starts getting bigger. Implementing technology will not solve the problem you're trying to address. If you really want people to know each other and interact, then find ways for them to spend face time with each other. Host parties, organize events at local bars, have some group lunches, etc.

Re:You're solving the wrong problem (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966732)

No, it needs to be taken a step further. They need facetime -in the office-. They need to work together and discuss things constantly if you want them to feel like a team. People you only see at the company picnic are just people, not friends or even really co-workers.

But the company probably doesn't want to pay for them to talk to each other. They would rather pay them to be productive instead. You'll have a hard time making this actually happen.

Family?!? It's a place of business. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966636)

I'm trying to bring family or community feel back to the company.

Whenever I hear the term "family" being used at or for a place of business my cynical thoughts start to run amok.

For one thing, aside from very screwed up and sad situations, your family is always your family. A business has you as family until the next downsizing or the next CEO comes in and due to global competition, sends you and a bunch of others away. Many times the "family" cover is an excuse to pay you less.

Secondly, in a family, I can be my weird quirky self. I can get mad, I can shout, I can be a bigot, I can tease without it turning into an HR problem and I can make self-effacing jokes without someone taking me seriously. I can ask about sleep issues, depression, or other things and be comfortable and NOT have to worry about it affecting my status in the family.

In a business environment, I have to put on airs, I have to hide parts of myself, swallow my anger some when incompetent jerk screws me over, I can't be honest and say "I fucked up, but let me fix it" - that'll get me fired.

Yes, I've heard of companies that in the past have done some very nice things for employees, DuPont for one, and they actually called their employees family, but I ask you, how many "family members" that worked for DuPont got to share in the billions of dollars that the patriarch left when he died? I didn't think so.

Anyone who equates family with employment has a very different idea of what family is than what I do.

Re:Family?!? It's a place of business. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966888)

In a business environment, ... I have to hide parts of myself,

Thank $_DIETY for that. Nothing starts the workday off worse than seeing a naked pasty-skinned pencil-necked zit-covered geek walking around the office, depositing random body hairs everywhere he goes.

Local bar / casual eating establishment (2, Insightful)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966666)

Your problem is that you don't see much between Facebook and a fully catered company outing.

Once a month, a volunteer from every department gets the department to go to a local bar or local eating establishment. If they're lucky, the manager will cover half the costs, the grunts pick up the rest. My manager orders a few pitchers of Shiner Bock and a few appetizer plates and asks for $5 from everybody. Not everybody attends, and there's more than one person who doesn't drink alcohol, but they have O'Douls or whatever monstrosity, so they're placated.

Of course, the word "volunteer" is important. Once one person does this in one department, and they get to talking, hopefully another department will pick up too. If two departments complete a big project, then two departments can get together and maybe the other one will think it's a good idea and try to do it too.

Re:Local bar / casual eating establishment (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966838)

Your Texas is showing, Shiner Bock is not well-known outside the region. Good stuff.

Re:Local bar / casual eating establishment (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967000)

I worked for Tivoli shortly after their heyday, which is to say, just after IBM acquired them. We had beer bashes on Fridays (do those still happen?) and offsite company meetings once a year, which means I attended one (not counting the billion dollar bash with Lyle Lovett — YAWN)

None of these events did anything to bring people together. People hung out with people they know. I hear the ropes course actually works, though. :)

The one thing I saw that worked was to include someone from another department in meetings they could get something from. For instance, I was on the team that included the inventory component, and I went to the inventory developers' meetings to bring our issues to them. Not only did this make me the best-informed support engineer (I do not use the term lightly — all but one of the people with this title had systems administration background when I worked there) but it also made me more familiar with people outside my department, and I was able to mix with a different crowd with minimal discomfort (on their part, most significantly.)

With all that said; mixing alcohol with company functions is fucking over in the US due to liability issues, at least for the forseeable future. Until we kill all the lawyers (sorry, NYCL) this situation will persist. This is part of why I'm in Panama right now, looking for cheap land; you don't have some ambulance chaser up your ass with a flashlight at every turn. (The other reason? Agua es vida.)

Free Beer (1)

cetialphav (246516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966668)

None of the things that I see mentioned will really help build community or get people to know each other. To do that, you need to setup an informal environment where people can relax. An all-hands company meeting can never be that. One company I worked at used to have some sort of celebration a few times a year. For example, they would have an Oktoberfest thing with free beer and snacks on a Friday afternoon. Other events were summer barbeques and ice cream socials.

All of these things encourage people to talk with others outside their department in an informal way. This can foster communication and collaboration during business hours and is actually pretty cheap to put on. Not everything needs to have a technical solution.

employee directory (1, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966694)

If a company uses Active Directory and Exchange, I try to set them up with DirectoryUpdate to keep AD updated with names, phone#'s, org chart, photos.

The best ideas (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966716)

The best ideas are the one you have yourself. These are the ones you remember. These are the ones that charge you enough emotionally that you're willing to act on them.

No one likes being manipulated into a system, into a different way of doing things. If you try to "impose" an "open, community environment" it will most likely backfire. However if you approach the people you want to include, present the problem to them and LISTEN to their suggestions, you're likely to get better results. Don't think of "one ideal method" for everyone because people are different - culturally, socially and in terms of personality. Some people respond to some things, and others need other things. Remember that when you're dealing with populations and biological systems (like human beings), you are always dealing with the normal, bell or Gauss curve. There will be the anti-socials on one side who will never get involved no matter how hard you try (but they're probably damned good at their job, which is why they're there). There will be the extroverts on the other end, who are great at socializing and networking and becoming the boss' pet and when you sit back and actually analyze the quality of the work they do, hmm, well... but they're such good friends and they probably already have some sort of "community" going.

      Then there's everyone else somewhere along the middle.

      Don't kid yourself into thinking you are going to change human nature. There will always be friction. There will always be office politics. There will always be resentment and jealousy. That is called humanity. However you will learn the needs of the people you are trying to help by listening to them, not by dreaming up some "method" on your own that you will force them to adopt.

Two Words: (2, Funny)

xefer (1733806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966724)

Alcohol

Larger companies are basicaly new relationships (5, Insightful)

elsJake (1129889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966734)

As you get more and more people involved it's only natural for things to get colder. Human beings aren't built to get close to everybody , most can only "handle" a certain amount of friends.
You can certainly try to make them all get along with various teambuilding activities , parties and the like , and that will help to some extent , but you can't force them to feel close to one another. After all you can't offer 10 people the same amount of time you could offer 5 , if you were to divide it equally.
The only thing you can do is hope that people working in the same team will start to bond while at the same time not gather any negative sentiments towards other teams.
The best way you can do that ? Make sure everybody is doing their job right _and_ not pissing all over other people's job.

Example Case : You've got the IT service guys fixing everything up , cleaning all the viruses from the network, but the rest of them can't be bothered to remember one secure password to their account.
IT will hate everyone for making their job more difficult than it should be , and everybody will hate the IT workers because they caught them on a bad day and got shouted at.

Another thing I've found helpful is having a friendly face pop in and ask if there's any unresolved issues in any department or if there's any improvement that can be made. This person can't always be their direct boss , people get scared of talking about things that bother them to people that have a say over their future.

In the end all these people are only there for one thing , their job. Make sure they can do it as easily as possible , and as good as they can and you'll see people getting along.
What pisses people off the most is _wasting their time_ even if they're getting paid for that waste time it will hurt them and they will take it out on others. At the same time don't force them to pretend their having fun if their not , that just annoys people further

Now since they're all trying to do their job , if you can show them that it would be easier if they worked together , that would help even more. GIve them the proper tools to collaborate and help each other and they'll all thank you for it.

Wrong tool for the job (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966736)

E-mail is the main source of communication, but can't it be painful sometimes? Everyone on the IT side receives alerts about tickets and other automated checks of systems. On any given day I generally receive 100+ alert messages. When we're not reading our filtered alerts into specified folders, general discussion about projects and fixing issues usually is anywhere from 20-60 messages a day. Quite honestly, I'm sick of e-mail and don't wish to get any more of it.

There problem here is that you are using the same tool for two very different tasks - conversations and notifications. These are different tasks that should fit into your workflow in different ways. I find email much more pleasant if I use email for talking to people, and offload as many notifications as possible into Atom/RSS feeds.

Whip me, beat me. Mod me down. (2, Insightful)

foolish_to_be_here (802344) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966752)

As a SENIOR staff member @55, it "resemble" that remark! IBM use to promote work at home, home at work. Don't know if they still do. More lip service anyway. My advice is not to get too chummy (overtly) at the work place, making it too family oriented is not all good. Keep the work professional and "on task" keeps folk as better more productive workers and happier, of all age mixes. Yes, you can still have fun but your there to your job to do. It also helps to keep the inevitable work place politics to a minimum.

2 words (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966800)

Being an IT company, I find it more natural for collaboration via computer, but welcome more traditional methods too.

Bring beer.

It's been the traditional way for IT people to communicate since at least the Stone Age.

"Facebook" "Chat" "Meetings" Are you kidding? You want real communication? Real feedback? Beer and a whiteboard.

IRC can be awesome... (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966808)

One thing to do is help the people who aren't used to it get set up with it, and set up multiple channels, so people know how to set up smaller chat groups. I am usually on about 8 channels on the work IRC server. There's a couple of functional groups ("people who work on feature X"), a couple of corporate structure groups ("people who report to manager Y"), at least one physical group ("people in office Z"), and a few others for things like "no managers" or "only people who don't care whether you're PC".

environment (4, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966866)

Most companies I've ever work for especially in the US think its OK to put their employees in conditions you wouldn't keep an animal in.
If you want people to feel good about working there then the first thing is to make the office a nice environment to be in.
Get rid of dehumanising things like cubes, dress codes for people that never face clients, institutional wall and floor colours, and especially kill that horrible strip lighting that most offices use. Get some plants, shared spaces with comfortable furniture and as much natural daylight or eyestrain-friendly lighting in the place as you can.

Employee and Family Events (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966910)

My previous company made a practice of hosting several events a year... one of which was a family inclusive event. Totally optional, of course, but since at least 50% of the employees did have family, participation was fairly high. This even could be anything, although some years it got pretty nice (trip to local amusement park, etc.)

The remaining events were employee-centric... a BBQ in the parking lot, a afternoon at the bowling alley, and so forth. This kind of activity provided a place outside of work to socialize with other employees.

Team building outings and sports (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966912)

It use to be popular, but IT bust and recession means you don't see team building outings. Best I ever went on was a half day sailing on the harbour - large boat, team effort required, introductory sailing. A couple of people already knew what they were doing and shared the knowledge with the newbs. Only problem is that's just one day and can be expensive. Team sports last longer, but can lead to time off work due to injury. What you basically need to do is get people doing something they ENJOY together rather than just the work. People tend to genuinely give a shit about people they spend leisure time with.

have you tried a gang bang? (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966916)

or maybe a bukake session? It's a male bonding thing (totally not gay). Have a few drinks, share some pussy. The only thing better than watching your own cock slide into a wet vag is watching another man's cock do the same. Even a circle jerk can be a good bonding experience.

Re:have you tried a gang bang? (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967050)

[citation needed]

Mandatory fun day! (4, Funny)

oheso (898435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966934)

... brought to you by the Department of Community Relations (formerly HR)

Know the indivuals to create the community (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966958)

drop down to the level where you have groups of say 30 people now ask whomever is in charge of that level to answer the following WITHOUT CONSULTING HR OR A SECRETARY
for each employee
1 what is this persons full name?
2 what does this person like to be called?
3 is this person married? To Whom?
4 numbers and names of children?
5 noteable skills of said children
6 schools attended by said children
7 noteable skills of the employee not related to the business
8 noteable skills of the employeee related to but not currently used by the business
9 this employee normally drives a _________

if you can't answer some of those questions that would be your problem

how playing games over the network with eachother? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30966962)

how playing games over the network with each other?

or other fun stuff like poker (play for fun)

Re:how playing games over the network with eachoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30967006)

Even better strip poker!

movie day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30966980)

Take everyone to see "Alice in Wonderland" when it comes out, during the workday, over two days so the work gets done. Preferably to a theater that has table service.

Food and drink (4, Insightful)

Cyrano de Maniac (60961) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967012)

It's simple really -- the same way you build up relationships with people outside the office -- around food and drink.

Things that have worked very successfully at my workplace (not all in place at the same time over the years):

- Friday Beer Bash. 3PM on Fridays (or most Fridays) have a self-sponsored beer bash. A few volunteers buy beer, some non-alcoholic beverages, and some chips/cookies etc. Everyone is invited to come, sit, and visit. Everyone is expected to chip in a couple bucks toward the food.

- Donuts. A set of people gets together at the same time in the morning once a week (Friday at 8AM when we did it) for donuts in the conference room. This isn't a "come grab a donut and go back to your office/cube" thing, but sit around the conference room and talk about anything and everything (work related or not). The participants are on a rotation to bring donuts, milk, and juice, paying out of their own pocket whenever their rotation comes around.

- Grilling. Pitch in together to buy a grill (or get one donated by someone, or the company). During months where the weather is nice enough, grill lunch outside, everyone bringing their own items to grill that day. Probably do this once a week. Organize payment for propane/charcoal however makes sense (chip in a buck once a week/etc).

- Cooking contests. An annual brownie contest, chili and cornbread contest, etc. A panel of employee judges gets to judge the contest, or everyone in attendance votes for their favorites. Have some sort of small prizes for the top three (e.g. small gift cards), funded however makes sense (company, entrance fee, proceeds from employees chipping in at the door to cover extras like beverages).

- Often the "self-sponsored" events above (beer bash, grilling, donuts if you choose to do it that way) end up generating more cash than actual costs. Whenever the amount builds up to a sufficient level, have a "free" pizza/whatever lunch paid out of the proceeds.

- Not quite a food thing, more of a beer thing, but start up a bowling league, company softball team, or something like that that gets people from different departments to join up around a common interest.

Recommendation (3, Insightful)

955301 (209856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967036)

You are fighting an impossible cause. We aren't designed to know and care about this many people. If you intend to let your business grow beyond 10 individuals (Yes! Ten. Those people each have at least 3 people they care about, making the minimum count 30 already) then you will fail to accomplish what you are looking for. More importantly, if some of them fall for it and begin to trust others at the office, they run the risk of being *deceived by someone they are attempting to trust*, while at work. You will have effectively attached their desire to work there to the outcome of any one relationship they build at work. If *one* relationship goes sour, the person is that more likely to leave altogether. This is why you want all relationships to "not mean anything" at work. It's important to the business.

Other than that, best of luck.
http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html [cracked.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number [wikipedia.org]

Alcohol (1)

adenied (120700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967062)

If you want to really get to know your coworkers, organize some sort of event with alcohol. (Caveat being make sure HR / CEO / Managers are cool with this first.)

This doesn't have to be a big formal thing or anything. Just send off an e-mail saying "There'll be a bunch of beers and some wine over in [common area] at 3:30pm this [good day of the week when people are actually around]! Come hang out and get to know your co-workers!" Maybe set up a big TV with Guitar Hero or some sort of video game that is both enjoyable to watch and to play.

One of two things will happen. If you're lucky you'll get a few people to show up and have a good time. Others might hear people laughing and chatting and go over to join. Have a few of these, once a month perhaps or more often if it seems appropriate, and hopefully more and more people will show up. It helps if your common area is a place that's a bit removed from the working area so people can't easily slip back to their desks.

If you're unlucky, you'll find out that you work with a bunch of boring people / former alcoholics who want nothing to do with it and you might be SOL. Years ago when my company was a much smaller start up, most Fridays someone would come around with a keg or a few cases of cold beers on a wagon. Was a great way to get people to have a bit of fun. We also did wine tasting events fairly regularly where people could sign up to bring either cheese or wine and would get paired up a day ahead of time to try to match things up. You need to make sure you have at least a few people who are willing to spend a few bucks on decent bottles for this to work. Or hell, drop a bit on your own and see if people show up. For the more hardcore offices, whiskey tastings work too.

I'm sure there's a lot of other great ideas out there, but I've had great success over the last decade with plying my co-workers with booze. Try it!

Lunch (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967182)

At a previous employer they had a few lunch-centric policies that I think worked out well.

The first was you had to have lunch with one of the two founders to get an offer - this had the added benefit that the owners knew you, and you knew (atleast one of) them, you'd feel connected instantly.

The second was that once you started working, your coworkers were encouraged to take you out to lunch on the companies dime. It only lasted for one week, but during that week you would be the most desirable lunch companion in the company, and you're bound to make a few friends that first week.

Lunch isn't the answer for everything, but it worked in the company I used to work at (I joined as employee 53, stayed with them past employee number 200, and the policy remained in-tact those ther/four years.

Without using technology (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967202)

technology isn't very good for a "community environment", usually quite the reverse. People sending emails when they could be getting up and talking face-to-face (or at least using the telephone) is a bug-bear for many people and many organisations actively discourage it.

Forums have no more value than email, it just doesn't pop up on your screen when you're trying to work. Instant messengers are merely an even worse form of email, because they positively demand an instant response and at best you get cliques forming (it's an exclusive, not inclusive form of communication).

Facebook does have some advantages, but mostly for colleagues who are already friends - if I had to join my work's Facebook there's no way I'd be using by real profile (despite approaching Facebook with the assumption that anybody I might not want to be reading it is doing so). A work Facebook is more like a collaborative newsletter - people put their carefully selected and sanitised holiday snaps up, in order to be seen to be contributing while offering nothing of any real social or community value.

If you want community and a social work environment, be social. Have a good Christmas event. Recognise that having a couple of very gregarious people on staff is important. Keep a small pot of money to fund staff excursions - BBQ, paintball, karting, whatever, maybe with a bus so they can drink. Those gregarious people will probably be very good at organising these. The relatively social and friendly senior management can come sometimes, but make a timely exit when people look like they want to behave as they do with friends rather than as they do in front of the boss.

People have modded the "get a water cooler" comment funny. Funny because it's so true.

Corporate IM (1)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967248)

Ignite Realtime with Spark client......I have used it, deployed it, and currently enjoy it.

My 42 cents (1)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967284)

On the technology side, get SharePoint Server with Office Communication Server. Both integrate with Outlook & Exchange and provide ample collaboration and chat capabilities and would give you the internal social networking feel you want, if you design it too.

On the real world, here is what some companies I have worked for have done.
-At work "olympics". Find some dumb tasks or events and have competitions for them. It may seem dumb, but people have fun.
-Regular company outings. - Softball tournements, bowling, paintball, amusement parks, etc
-At the company Christmas party, arrange people's seating so they are sitting at a table with people they do not work with so they are forced to mingle
-Have beer day. At one company I worked at (about 50 people) we'd have beer friday's where we'd all chip in for a couple cases of beer and sit around for the last hour of the day relaxing. It was mandatory to stay. Either you stayed and worked, or you hung out with everyone else, you didn't have to drink.
-Have pot lucks... Everyone brings something and everyone eats.

What I'm doing to build a community (1)

Godefricus (1575165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967370)

I'm trying to set up a community in my city, starting from my church. It's going well!!
I've noticed that the first thing you need is to organise a meal at set times to eat together. Good food and time together. That works. You can talk and really meet eachother.

But it's useful to have a audacious person among your group, who will just walk to the people he/she doesn't know and start talking to them uninhibitedly, and invite them, and make them part of the conversation.

Also, some form of contact (web forum maybe?) and transportation so people can keep in touch and help eachother out with different things. (One guy knows how to fix your bike, another girl has a van and can help you move, you can look after someone's child and so on)
Make sure there's a list available with everyone's contact information - and pictures! if it's a large group with people who don't know eachother - which is spread among everyone, so everyone can reach eachother.

Then there's prayer, but I guess that's a religious thing which won't apply in most companies :) But there's another thing which is in the same category - taking care of eachother - and very universally humanistic, not religious at all: giving. You put a pot somewhere in a not very visible spot where people can give some money for the poor. It is remarkable how much this binds people together.

recreation (1)

yaiba (628769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967428)

Forget irc/facebook and any computer related stuffs.

I would suggest these:

- billards table, darts, mahjong etc..
- wii, ps3
- cards (with chips)
- stick hockey table (make tournaments for fun)

Happy Hour (1)

revoldub (1425465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967436)

It works.

StatusNet (2, Interesting)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967456)

StatusNet [status.net] is a neat platform that runs Identica [identi.ca] , a twitter alternative. It's free as in freedom (GNU AGPL), and it has pretty much every feature twitter has and more. You can view conversations people have instead of searching for hours for who-responded-to-what-and-how-many-people-were-involved. You can customize the theme and upload files, too! There's lots of other optional features you can use as well, and it has a similar API to twitter, so lots of applications already support it. Try it out and see if it works for you; you can even chose where it's hosted!

Continual Fun (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30967474)

If you can get people involved in picnics, contests, sports teams, perhaps a company band, you will have a close community with little turnover. It is important that much of these activities take place after work or on weekends so that social life and work become more welded together. For example with 100 employees you will be having birthdays every week. Make that cake ritual part of the Saturday ball game and announce the birthday will be held at the ballgame on the actual birthday. That way you save distraction at work and still honour the employee and also steer him to attend the company ball game. Also be sure not to discourage employee dating as that also can bind people to a company.

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