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Why Friendships at Work Matter for Employee Engagement

Posted by Insightlink on 06/19/24

How having good friends at work can boost productivity, happiness, and well-being among employees.

work friends

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Friendships at work are more than just socializing
Many people spend more time with their coworkers than with their families or friends outside of work. Therefore, it makes sense that having good relationships with your colleagues can have a positive impact on your work experience and performance. One of the most widely used measures of employee engagement is the Gallup Q12 survey, which includes the question "I have a best friend at work". This question reflects the degree of social connection and support that employees feel at work. According to Gallup, employees who strongly agree with this statement are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, compared to those who don't. They also report higher levels of satisfaction, loyalty, and commitment to their organizations.
Friendships at work can improve your health and well-being
Having good friends at work can also benefit your employees’ physical and mental health. Research shows that social support can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve immune system functioning. Moreover, having friends at work can help you cope with work-related challenges, such as deadlines, conflicts, or feedback. They can provide you with emotional support, advice, and feedback, as well as a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Additionally, having friends at work can make your work more fun and enjoyable, which can boost your mood and motivation.
Friendships at work can enhance your creativity and collaboration
Another advantage of having good friends at work is that they can stimulate creativity and collaboration. When you have friends at work, you are more likely to share your ideas, opinions, and perspectives with them, which can lead to more innovation and problem-solving. You are also more likely to trust them, respect them, and listen to them, which can foster a positive and productive team culture. Furthermore, having friends at work can increase your engagement and involvement in your work, as you are more likely to care about the outcomes and the impact of your work on your friends and the organization.
How to cultivate friendships at work
While having good friends at work can have many benefits, it is not always easy to develop and maintain them. Here are some tips on how to cultivate friendships at work for both employees and HR professionals:
  • Be friendly and approachable. Smile, greet, and compliment your coworkers, and show interest in their lives and hobbies.
  • Communicate openly and respectfully. Share your thoughts and feelings, listen actively, and give constructive feedback.
  • Be supportive and helpful. Offer your help, advice, and resources, and celebrate your coworkers' achievements and successes.
  • Be trustworthy and reliable. Keep your promises, respect your coworkers' privacy, and avoid gossip and drama.
  • Find common interests and activities. Join or start a social club, a sports team, or a volunteer group with your coworkers, or invite them to lunch, coffee, or happy hour.
  • Create opportunities for social interaction. Organize team-building events, workshops, or retreats that foster collaboration and communication among employees.
  • Encourage diversity and inclusion. Promote a culture of respect and appreciation for different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences among employees.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate employees who demonstrate friendship qualities, such as sharing, caring, and helping.
  • Provide feedback and support. Conduct regular surveys, interviews, or focus groups to assess the level of friendship and engagement among employees and address any issues or concerns that arise.
In conclusion, understand that friendship is a key factor for creating a positive and productive work environment. Insightlink recommends that HR managers should adopt the following measures to foster genuine friendships among employees:
  • Create a culture of diversity and inclusion that values and respects individual differences and encourages cross-cultural communication and collaboration.
  • Recognize and reward friendship behaviors that demonstrate trust, support, cooperation, and mutual learning among employees.
  • Create opportunities for social interaction among employees, such as team-building activities, social events, mentoring programs, and online platforms.
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