30 Jul The Power of Friendship in the Workplace
July 30th celebrates the International Day of Friendship. As we spend a great deal of our working life with colleagues we looked into reasons why having friends at work is a positive for employees, and businesses.
The Power of Productivity
Research from Gallup, an analytics and advisory company, found that close work friendships lead to employees being up to 50 percent more satisfied. Their research claims that people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be motivated and productive.
NASA also found that teams with an already established relationship made fewer mistakes, when fatigued, than a team who had no prior relationships, again making them more productive.
The Power of Helpfulness
Aside from the benefits of true friendships at work even ‘water cooler’ friends can offer the benefits of reciprocity. Knowing that you can reach out to a handful of people who might be able to help you. By having a friendship bond employees are more likely to trust the advice that comes from theses connections.
Reciprocity improves productivity, promotes learning, and builds a culture of trust. Companies with whose employees are more helpful have a lower employee turnover, enjoy greater customer satisfaction, and are more profitable.
The Power of Peace
Friendships help keep conflict at bay. When people feel threatened at work by highly talented members of their team they can engage in `social undermining`, which can spiral into direct conflict. Nottingham University Business School found that employees who consider their fellow team members to be friends, and not just work colleagues, had fewer instances of undermining and conflict than their less social counterparts.
“Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”
The Power of Health
Happy employees take less time off and friendship definitely helps with that. A study of nearly 300 people using a free health clinic in New York, found that the clients with the fewest social ties were the most likely to suffer from heart disease, anxiety, and depression.
With 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK being attributed to mental health conditions, employee wellbeing is key. Numerous physical diseases, such as heart problems, have also been linked to reduced social ties. This increases the potential staff absences too.
An Annals of Behavioral Medicine study undertaken with young people discussed rough patches in their lives. They found that participants had a lower pulse and blood pressure when they had a supportive friend at their side, demonstrating that friendships can have a huge impact on overall wellbeing.
The Power of Retention
Employees who have a close friend at work are less likely to leave their jobs.
Relationships are key with 58% of men saying they would refuse a higher paying job role if it meant not getting along with co-workers. This is even more important to women, with 74% of women saying the same.
Do you encourage social activities between your workforce? How do you feel it impacts your business for the better?