Do You Make Friends at Work?

The results are in, and having friends at work might actually influence how productive you are on the job.

Wherever you work, it's true that you spend a lot of time with your coworkers. With that in mind, relationships are bound to develop - more specifically, friendships.

If you've ever wondered how your work friendships impact your efficiency, staffing firm Accountemps did some digging.

In your opinion, when coworkers are friends outside of the office, how does it affect productivity?” Accountemps asked Canadian workers and CFOs in a survey.

The survey found that 61 per cent of Canadian employees think that having coworkers that are friends positively influences productivity.

However, an underwhelming 36 per cent of Canadian CFOs feel the same. Meanwhile, 57 per cent said work friendships have no effect on productivity.

A work friend can be more than just someone to spend your lunch break with - they can also play a pivotal role in progressing in your career,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Professionals with solid office relationships benefit from the added support and encouragement of their peers, and are happier and more confident at work.”

Happiness is definitely a major factor in workplace efficiency, and a separate survey by Robert Half found that professionals who feel they have good friends at work are 1.6 times more likely to be happy than those who don’t.

So, how can a workplace be more conducive to friendships?

According to Accountemps, certain measures can be taken by both employees and managers to foster office friendships.

Employees can participate in team building activities or social events organized by their company or their coworkers, offer assistance on projects or tasks their colleagues are working on, and set boundaries on keeping personal information private. As long as you're not keeping your work friends from doing work, you're good on the productivity front!

As for managers, setting up team building activities outside of the office and creating bonding opportunities inside the office is a must to fostering friendships. Further, knowing your company culture and being transparent about it at interviews helps determine if someone new will be a good fit at your office, both for you and for them. Finally, managers should treat employees fairly and with a friendly attitude - it's crucial to ensure no one feels left out.

Cultivating a strong sense of camaraderie contributes to a positive work environment, and a more motivated, productive and loyal workforce," said Hunnam-Jones.

Whether or not you make friends at work, it seems that now is as good a time as any to start.

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