An introduction to Team relationships

The relationships we have with the colleagues we work closest with are what define our day-to-day experience at work. From the ‘how was your weekend?’ on Monday to the after-work social on Thursday, our team mates can be a reliable source of support and enjoyment at work.

1 Team relationships

Why it’s important

For Friday, the core of the work experience is the team. It’s within teams that people spend most of their working day; it’s their colleagues that define their day-to-day experience at work. And – for most employees – relationships within teams are a reliable source of support and wellbeing at work. In our international survey, the percentages reporting getting on well with people in their team are high, ranging from 79% in Belgium to 89% in the USA. A poor score on team relationships is the surest guarantee of low happiness at work, and amongst the top three predictors of intention to leave.

This fits with the broader wellbeing literature, which stresses the importance of people’s relationships with their friends and family, and the very negative impact of loneliness on wellbeing and indeed health. Relatedness (i.e. having good relationships) is one of three psychological needs in Self-Determination Theory, necessary for human wellbeing. Organisational psychologist David Sirota and colleagues, in their book The Enthusiastic Employee, similarly, identify three motivating factors for employees, one of them being camaraderie with colleagues.

Research shows positive work relationships help us to cope with the demands of a job and they make being at work more enjoyable. According to preliminary research with client data, team relationships predict future changes in stress in employees, as well as people’s freedom to be themselves – highlighting the central importance of relationships to employee wellbeing. Research into what makes a good team has emphasized communication and group dynamics, linking the quality of team relationships to team performance.

What one of our experts says

“Happiness is almost a social emotion – because who we’re with greatly impacts our experience. So it is unsurprising that how we get along with those people we spend the most time with, our team relationships, are the cornerstones of our happiness at work.” Nic Marks, Friday