Having friends at work can be a controversial topic for both employees and employers. Many workers like to keep their work and personal life separate; a lot of managers frown at the thought of too much chit-chat and think it will decrease productivity. Read on to find out what the research says to support the idea that having work friends makes us more productive.
What Does the Research Say?
According to the latest research from the University of Warwick, happiness makes people more productive at work. In fact, 12% more productive. Happiness is gained from positive interactions with colleagues.
Gallop state their research consistently shows that for men and women, having a best friend at work improves the amount of effort employees expend at work.
They also found that women who have a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged with work. When women feel a deep connection with team members, they are more likely to make positive actions for the business.
Gallop also found that two-thirds of women say the social aspect of a job is a “major reason” why they work.
Practical Steps for Managers
Before managers focus on building a culture that allows work friendships to develop, they need to make sure basic engagement is met. For example, if an employee doesn’t know what’s expected of them then social interactions at work are more likely to lead to complaining.
How can managers create an environment where friendships can flourish?
- Culture of Inclusiveness
The culture needs to be inclusive where all employees feel they can speak up. This feeling of trust naturally leads to connection.
- Company-wide Connection
Whether through cross-team work collaborations or fundraising opportunities, employees across the organisation can get to know each other.
- Social activities
Managers should promote and attend social activities to lead by example. This should not only include the big events but also being social during lunch breaks.
We’re increasingly living in a world where people want more than just a wage. They want belongingness and fulfilment in their lives which can be gained through meaningful relationships at work. As we spend more time at work than at home, if we lack these connections at work it can feel like a lonely and isolating place with a big impact on happiness and therefore productivity.
Women often state that friendships at work are a major reason for working. By promoting a culture that allows for work friendships, companies can reduce employee turnover among women in particular.
Do you think having work friends makes us more productive?