Loyalty, honesty and reliability are key requirements for any friendship to go the distance and this doesn’t differ in the workplace. Even though the boundary between friendship and business partnership isn’t one worth crossing – according to 1 in 3 people who state they wouldn’t go into business with a friend – 90% of workers claim that being friends with colleagues makes it easier to work cooperatively. A new study investigating workplace relationships by small business insurer, Hiscox highlights the importance of having friends at work.
Here’s what the study uncovered:
Mix business and pleasure
It’s no shock that 44.4% of people admit they spend over 31 hours a week with the people they work with, and with so much time spent together, it’s inevitable that friendships will form over time. This is an important development for businesses, as a positive work culture is becoming more of a requirement when people search for a new job. In fact, 91% of respondents said they would like to work for a company where they will get along with colleagues on a personal and professional level. This is beneficial to the business as well as employees, as establishing a deeper connection among peers can encourage higher levels of efficiency among teams. It also means that individuals are likely to seek help from their peers, which can alleviate pressure on management.
Business and Life Coach, Raghav Parkash explains, “positive and genuine relationships amongst employees become the catalyst of a good company culture, providing effective support systems as an alternative to turning to your manager/director.”
Fostering a healthy work environment by encouraging co-workers to spend time together – whether it is through a company lunch, planned team meetings or a fun area for them to blow off steam – can be beneficial for businesses in the long run.
Friendship is key to job satisfaction
When employees are happier in the office, it tends to echo across all aspects of their work, from productivity and efficiency to fulfilment. It appears that friendships in the workplace are something businesses should be actively encouraging as 92% of people believe having friends at work improves their job satisfaction. When people feel comfortable around those they work with, they feel confident in approaching them for help and advice on work issues, making situations less stressful. Parkash agrees, “friendships at the workplace can increase job satisfaction, as the working environment becomes more enjoyable. It also creates a sense of familiarity and safety, similar to what we feel at home surrounded by our family and loved ones.”
On the other hand, half of those surveyed admit that having friends in the workplace can be distracting, meaning that tasks can take longer to be completed, or can even be left incomplete.
But, while this can be frustrating and cause short-term issues, it can save money in the long run. Creating a fun and safe environment leads to job satisfaction and a better rate of staff retention, which can save businesses from the costly re-hiring process. What’s more, employees who are happy in their place of work are more likely to go the extra mile for the job and help other friends and colleagues.
Out of office
It appears the connections that form during a tea break have the potential to grow into something much deeper. The survey revealed 1 in 5 people have gone on to live with a colleague and nearly 2 in 5 Brits have had a romantic relationship with somebody they met at work. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to go into business with friends – however, this doesn’t always work out. The survey revealed that 31% of people who have started a business with a friend confess to not working well together. This could be due to the change in dynamic from friends to partners or the additional time spent together.
Forming friendships in the workplace can be seen as a distraction to some – but those connections that are made during work hours not only boost productivity but increase job satisfaction, too. Happy and satisfied workers create a great work culture and increase efficiency, which can be beneficial for any business in the long run.