Business Group Blog

Workplace Friendships Increase Productivity

Workplace friendships increase productivity.

 

Do you have a best friend at work? If not, research shows you can benefit from one.

Do you have a best friend at work? If so, chances are you’re more engaged in your job than your peers without one.1 You may even be more successful at engaging your customers or clients and produce higher quality of work.2  While it may seem counter intuitive to some, research shows that having strong social bonds with coworkers is associated with a number of positive business outcomes, including those mentioned above. In fact, research also indicates that even minor increases in social cohesiveness among employees can lead to large gains in productivity.

Despite evidence pointing to the importance of workplace friendships on employee performance, productivity, and their overall well-being, cultivating connections among employees is still a ripe area of opportunity for employers: Only 30% of surveyed employees report that they have a best friend at work, and only 5% of surveyed employees strongly agree that their organization helps them build stronger personal relationships.4,5

There’s no better time to prioritize helping employees make social connections than now, as Sunday, August 6 is Friendship Day. If you’re looking for ideas to bring employees together, try the following:

  • Host social activities, including those that leverage natural peer groups. The summer is a fantastic time to organize picnics, healthy pot luck lunches, cooking classes, field days or other fun warm weather outings.
  • Make fitness activities and challenges group based and promoting employee awareness and participation in these activities. New data from Optum and the National Business Group on Health shows that just offering health and well-being programs (and having employees be aware of them) can increase the likelihood that employees feel their employer promotes positive workplace relationships.6 It also increases the likelihood that they’ll have good relationships with their colleagues.7 
  • Promote ways for employees to connect during the work day. This might include things like encouraging teleworkers to do daily, non-work-related check-ins with other colleagues via Skype. It might also mean changing break structures to allow employees on the same team the opportunity to socialize. You also might provide employees with a dedicated space to socialize throughout the day. Some companies, for example, have transformed their traditional lunch rooms into places for employees to congregate and connect by adding lounge seating and foosball or ping pong tables.
For more information on making social connections at work – or their importance - see the following Business Group resources:
 
References

 

  1. Rath T, Harter JK. Wellbeing: The five essential elements. NY: Gallup Press; 2010.
  2. Rath T, Harter JK. Wellbeing: The five essential elements. NY: Gallup Press; 2010.
  3. Rath T, Harter JK. Wellbeing: The five essential elements. NY: Gallup Press; 2010.
  4. Rath T, Harter JK. Wellbeing: The five essential elements. NY: Gallup Press; 2010.
  5. Gallup.The business case for wellbeing. Accessed July 8, 2015.
  6. Optum/National Business Group on Health® Consumer Engagement Study, 2017.
  7. Optum/National Business Group on Health® Consumer Engagement Study, 2017.