Consider the best job you’ve ever had. What about that job that made it so enjoyable? The challenge of the work? Free donuts every day? A sense you were making a difference in the world? Creative freedom? The people you worked with?
For many people, the biggest factor in what makes a job great is the cast of characters they’re fortunate enough to share workspace with. Workplace dynamics can make even the most high-pressure job feel exhilarating instead of overwhelming. The key difference often lies in building relationships at work.
Office Friendships = Job Satisfaction
When it comes to job satisfaction, don’t overlook the importance of relationships at work. Whether it’s a peer-to-peer relationship or a mentor-mentee connection, the friendships that develop in the workplace can make a good environment even better.
Collaboration is easier when team members have a personal connection with one another. A sense of belonging helps to eliminate pessimism, negativity, and friction in the workplace. Relationships at work increase cooperation and helps team members work toward a common goal. This can boost positive perception of the work environment as well as employee engagement.
Promoting Relationships at Work
There is often a divide in how business leaders view workplace friendships. Some are decidedly “old school” in their thinking. They may frown upon watercooler chitchat and demand their staff focus solely on work tasks. To these leaders, there should be a distinct line drawn between work and everything outside of the office. In this view, office friendships are a distraction that takes away from the work at hand.
Wise office leaders, however, encourage friendship in the workplace. They understand that these kinds of friendships can make the work environment more pleasant as well as more productive. Building these connections between coworkers improves the work environment.
Connection between employees can result in a 156% increase in wellbeing, 374% increase in feeling appreciated, and 47% reduction in employee burnout. In short, your employees are happier, more productive, and less likely to be actively seeking other employment. When you’ve spent a lot of time and effort in recruiting, training, and building a team, keeping this team motivated can be as simple as encouraging connection.
Leading by Example
Company leadership isn’t exempt from friendship in the workplace. It’s just as important for individuals in leadership roles to develop connections with staff members. The most common form of connection is that between a mentor and mentee, but it’s not the only way for leaders to participate in workplace friendship. Taking the time to get to know your staff members personally will help you to understand the often-hidden dynamics of the workplace.
Set a precedent for your staff to follow. Encourage friendships in the workplace by:
- Giving them opportunities to volunteer
- Recognizing their efforts
- Creating company-sanctioned fun times, both during the workday and outside the office
- Placing value on social interaction
- Rewarding them for social activities within the office
- Proudly sharing your workplace culture on social media
Most people spend the bulk of their waking hours with their coworkers. Workplace friendships can provide meaningful connection and help staff members be emotionally invested in their work. Most individuals want to feel as if they contribute to the workplace in a meaningful way and encouraging these connections can help accomplish that.
Encouraging workplace friendships can help you to build a better workplace!