All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. It turns out that this couldn’t have been truer for workplaces. Study after study shows the far-reaching effect of having friends at workplace on your work productivity.
Managers and professionals conforming to traditional HR practices may have concerns of workplace distractions. It can be argued that friendships at workplace can cause conflict of interests and may impede impartial judgments and clear-headed thinking.
However, the statistics can’t be denied either. Employees are happier when they have friends at the workplace. According to Gallup, employee satisfaction goes up by 50% if you have close work friendships. Also, people who have a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to be actively involved with their work. This gives just a basic gist of how beneficial it is for workplace productivity as well as personal satisfaction, to have close work friendships.
Work is not just 9 to 5. Often times, employees end up not only taking the work home but also working on it during the weekends. At the least, you spend a third of each of your workdays in your office, which takes away a major chunk of time. Hence, any negative or stressful events are also likely to affect your personal life as well. Friends at work can offer really strong moral support in the face of workplace challenges and setbacks. They can help uplift your morale!
A survey by Gallup found that employees who had a best friend at work were 27% more likely to state that their opinions are taken note of.
Friendship at work also has the obvious advantage of networking. It also lends a boost to productivity and helps in employee retention. According to a survey conducted by Australian Institute of Management Victoria & Tasmania (AIM VT), out of 2223 business people across Australia, people who planned to stick to their current jobs cited ‘good relationship with co-workers’ as the biggest reason (67%). In fact, this ranked even higher than salary, which came on seventh at 46%.
Job satisfaction (63%) and flexible working arrangements (57%) were other factors taken into consideration in the survey.
The social aspect of workplace friendships can be helpful in maintaining employee retention even in times of economic difficulty.
This survey also shows the importance of workplace friends above many tangible and intangible factors such as salary and flexi-times. It establishes why friends at work are so important, leading to workplace productivity.
The Bottom Line: Shared Work Commitment
Strong friendship bonds in the workplace can lead to strong shared values and cohesive work teams. You know you all are in this together! Work is no more a place for competition with colleagues but a place to create meaningful learning experiences and take the company forward.
Organizations regularly arrange fun activities such as wellness programs, charity drives and walks to foster friendship among employees and create a sense of shared goals and beliefs. These corporate goals and challenges help in unifying the team and create a sense of identity and belonging in the employees.