Some Say Work Friends Aren't Real Friends. Here’s Why They’re Wrong!
Whether you work remotely or in an office, workplace friendships are an important part of remaining healthy and productive. Read on to learn why!
From offices to warehouses, workshops to farms, many people spend more time with coworkers than they do with their families. And what we think of the people we work with and our relationships with them affects our lives, even after the workday is done.
According to the 2021 Workplace Friendship & Happiness Survey by Wildgoose, 57% of people say having a best friend in the workplace makes work more enjoyable, 22% feel more productive with friends, and 21% say friendship makes them more creative.
These numbers are understandable. Work is often a means to an end, and jobs come with stressors and unexpected events that are out of our control. A close friend at work can help make the hours spent in the workplace happier and more purposeful.
“Relationships matter because they help us feel connected, making us more motivated and productive,” Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn career expert, wrote in a blog post. “It’s much easier to share feedback with someone if you have built up a solid rapport, or ask someone for advice if you have invested in the relationship.”
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In 2018, Gallup published research that illustrated that “Those who [have a best friend at work] are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs”. Lighthouse also referenced findings from LinkedIn that “Especially for your youngest staff (age 18-24), it improves their happiness, motivation, and productivity.”
Whether an employee works remotely or in an office or hybrid work model, we’ll explore why work friends can benefit coworkers, businesses, and the overall company culture.
Benefits of workplace friendships
An average person spends 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. This explains how our job can impact our overall well-being and other facets of our lives.
Organizational psychologists indicate that having friends at work enhances employee happiness quotient and improves their life outcomes.
Family members do not understand what employees go through at the workplace daily. Though they might be supportive at their best levels, a friend at work who witnesses their team members' stress can make a huge difference.
Sticking to the cubicle and not mingling with others may hamper employees’ productivity and health. Hanging out with work friends can add a dose of fun that is quintessential to staying motivated.
A team that has good relations among its members can achieve more and undoubtedly increases overall employee engagement. By befriending teammates, employees will never see their workday as another routine day.
Instead, they will want to lend a helping hand to accomplish team goals. Not to forget that happier teams are an essential component in making a brand desirable.
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There’s little doubt that a lack of connection with coworkers would have a negative effect on workload or productivity levels.
When employees are feeling isolated or unhappy at work because of a lack of close friendships or genuine or positive connections with others, they’re more likely to feel despondent, causing the quality of their work and their energy levels to plummet.
Real friends at work that go beyond typical professional relationships guide employees in dealing with challenging situations. Spending time outside of work and truly connecting can often reveal solutions to many nagging work situations.
When employees have work friendships, their sense of belongingness to the organization multiplies. Studies find that people with friends at work can align 27% better toward organizational goals.
They bring in better productivity to the table by learning new skills and brainstorming, which contributes to their enjoying better job satisfaction.
Good relationships at work often mean employees work better and faster. When they have people around them who lower their stress levels and give them honest and constructive feedback, they're more likely to accomplish their goals.
A brighter day makes everyone more excited to come to work each morning. In the long run, team members are that much more likely to be motivated to perform.
It’s a cliché, but two heads really are better than one. Having friends at work who employees can bounce ideas off of and who will champion their creativity or innovations will give them the confidence and the outside perspective they need to do great things.
No job or department or organization is without its challenges. When team members have a solid support system of workplace friends around them, the inevitable difficulties or roadblocks that they’ll face will seem much more manageable. Workplace friendships are their support system to tackle those difficulties.
Having good relationships with colleagues means employees are more likely to communicate with them on a regular basis, which, in turn, leads to better business outcomes.
Open, honest, positive, and constructive communication is the foundation of good collaboration, and when team members have a solid friendship as their foundation, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish together.
Excellent company culture has nothing to do with ping pong tables, casual Fridays, happy hours, or bring-your-dog to-work days. Healthy company culture is first and foremost about people and the way they interact, relate, communicate, and collaborate.
Organizations that have a systemic breakdown of the company culture almost always can attribute this to toxic or nonexistent relationships among coworkers, managers, and company leaders.
Having a confidante at work enables employees to share freely and alleviates the burden from within. This helps in improving their overall stress levels and mental health. Not surprisingly, employees with friends at work have better heart health than those who prefer to forgo workplace friendships.
Most of us are happy to acknowledge and celebrate the positive impact friendships that began in the workplace had and continue to have in our lives today. The pandemic has created a previously unimaginable opportunity for today’s leaders to help build the future of work.
As the 'Born Digital’ generation now makes up most of the global workforce, it is crucial to keep their priorities - choice, flexibility and autonomy – in mind. But as we pave the way for the leaders of the future; let us also prioritize creating working environments that promote friendships beyond strictly work relationships.
And for new recruits, those early days at a new job can be challenging, so let’s help our employees make new friends; we already know that doing so serves us as well as them.
Ready to make a positive impact on your company culture? Talk to us and find out if Cooleaf if the right fit for your team!