How important is the extended work family?

Mariner has discussed the extended human family and its newer version, the nuclear family. Nuclear families consist of one parenting unit and growing children. In recent times the benefit of having several generations nearby and even several in-laws provided a more fulfilling experience for all kinds of reasons from babysitting, to great holiday festivities, to fiscal assuredness, to a frequent communal sharing of love and association. Today, only the lucky families have brothers, sisters, cousins and older generations close by.

It turns out that there are benefits to an extended workforce that are similar to extended family relationships. A benefit of everyone working at the same workplace encourages allegiance to the business. Another important element is the cordiality among workers that makes tenure and job satisfaction more stable. The business benefits from team creativity and team commitment.

The new work force imposed too rapidly by Covid is one where an employee works in a nuclear environment at home or from anywhere in the world. Business administrators have noticed a drop in productivity not necessarily from individuals alone but from  general business production. Most notable is less spontaneous creativity by employees yielding only task-based productivity.

On the one hand, business can take advantage of dropping the overhead of large office space; for example Disney has a huge office building in Burbank that is virtually empty today. On the other hand, babysitting large employee operations that are spread all over the place has added a layer of coordination that is not easy to manage.

Administrators are tinkering with new ideas that will help manage a ‘nuclear’ workforce. For many reasons every business needs large scale coordination of its employees, e.g., changes in corporate policy, legal changes for employees and, importantly, a unified production force.

How about prepaid vacation for three days for employees while performing corporate-wide business? Palm trees and shorts are more inclusive than shirts and dresses!

How about overnight team retreats to work on specific issues?

How about restoring the old company picnic that looked almost like a fair? Maybe smaller businesses could take employees to a major league sports event.

These suggestions are among many serious ideas emerging to restore the magic of an extended workforce – the word ‘extended’ referring to the cohesiveness of an extended family.

Ancient Mariner


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