Do you have good friends at work? People often think employees being too friendly with each other slows down productivity, however, it is actually the opposite. 70% of employees say having friends at work is the most crucial part of a happy working life, and this has a direct link with productivity and engagement.
What are workplace friendships?
We spend a large amount of time at work and when people get on it makes for a much happier environment. You may not be thrilled about updating that spreadsheet on a Monday morning, but learning what your colleague did over the weekend may improve your mood and give you more motivation to get on with your work. Friendships at work are about people connecting and helping each other. You get to know about each other’s families and what you each do outside of work, but you can also help and support each other through difficult or stressful times. When staff get on, they are much more likely to ask for each other’s help and opinions on projects, improving their output and learning more from each other.
How do people view the people they work with?
One in three adults meet at least one of their closest friends at work, and many people even classify their boss as a friend. For many, friendships with colleagues exist outside the working environment – from after-work drinks or dinner to going on trips or holidays together.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case to boost productivity. Spending time together almost every day naturally forms bonds between teams and just being friendly within the workplace or travelling to and from work together can be enough.
How does this help employee productivity and retention?
People are more productive and creative when they are in a positive environment where they feel comfortable to be themselves or ask questions. The atmosphere that is created when teammates are friends promotes camaraderie and mutual trust between employees. People who have a good friend at work are said to be twice as likely to be engaged in their work, increasing overall productivity.
Workplace friendships help employee retention as even if someone receives other job opportunities if they are happy in their current work environment and enjoy spending time with their colleagues each day they less likely to want to leave these relationships behind. The thought of having to leave good friends to create and develop new relationships in a new environment can be a huge deterrence from leaving a role.
What can you do to help develop these friendships?
If your staff have no time to talk to colleagues away from their desks it is unlikely that workplace friendships will develop. But, as a business, you want your employees to get on with their work and not to chat when they should be working. So, what can you do to encourage the development of these relationships without reducing efficiency?
Provide commuter services
Commuting is stressful for most people. Driving to work in traffic, spending time and money parking, or standing in an overcrowded train can be exhausting. All before you have even arrived at work. After a tedious commute people are also not in the mood for a friendly conversation. By providing transport for your employees you can reduce this stress which in itself will help productivity. Offering a relaxed way for employees to travel together to work can help build and improve relationships. Colleagues can chat and get to know each other on the way to work, perhaps even enjoying a coffee together all before they arrive at work. When this is a daily occurrence bonds will be created and stronger friendships will build over time, all outside of office working hours.
Create team-building activities
A great bonding experience for your employees is taking part in team-building activities, either for an afternoon or a couple of days away from the office. Getting colleagues to problem-solve together in a completely different environment often allows employees to learn much more about each other than they ever would in the office. They will talk differently and get to know one another creating a new bond and greater connection. This will lead to changes in dynamics and the building of relationships in the workplace.
Encourage company rituals
Lunch out on a Friday? Or maybe a weekly team breakfast? If you set aside some time for your staff to get together and away from their individual desks it will encourage mingling and help build relationships. It is important to create time and space for conversation within the working day to get people away from their desks, provide a well-needed screen break and offer a designated time to talk to prevent distractions at other times of the day.
Workplace friendships means increased productivity
Happier employees are more productive and workplace friendships help to increase the happiness of staff. Employers should encourage their staff to get on and create situations to allow these relationships to develop and flourish.
Commuter solutions are a great way to tackle multiple problems in your company, from reducing parking costs to stress reduction. They provide a unique setting for colleagues to get to know each other better and encourage positive relationships which are then brought into the workplace. To find out more about Zeelo’s personalised commuter solutions, and what they can do for your business, take a look here.