An introduction to Friendships at work

All of us appreciate having good friends in our lives, and at work it’s no different. It’s good for our spirits to have people around us who we care about and who care for us. Friendships help us deal with stress and they bring meaning to the work we do.

3 Friendships at work

Why it’s important

Friendships at work are surprisingly important for happiness. Over two thirds of people report good relations at work as “very important” to what they value in a job. And for good reason. Research has found that there is a positive relationship between co-worker support and job satisfaction, but also that lower social support is associated with greater depression, It’s also been found that having good connections at work can help employees deal with stress – they’re less likely to see something as stressful, better equipped to deal with it if they do feel stressed, and recover from work stress more quickly.

And friendships at work is not just good for the employee themselves – it’s good for the team and organization too. For instance, good relationships between team mates has been found to be related to the team’s overall achievements and employee commitment to their employer. Studies of volunteers have found its friendships that keep people committed to a cause when the going gets tough. IBM were even able to find a link between friendship at work and productivity, as employees with stronger social connections at work performed better.

What one of our experts says

“In my own research looking at how volunteers from all walks of life work effectively as a team, friendships came first and the work came second. This made social activities like going to dinner really important. The rewarding nature of positive relationships – the smiles, the jokes, the shared experiences – energized the work volunteers did together and this was more important for motivation than values and mission statements”. Dr Jody Aked, Friday

How we measure it

We ask people about work friendships with this question:

Do you feel that you have good friends at work?

The emphasis is on “good” friends because its typically good friends who we support and feel most supported by.

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