Be sure to be thankful the next time you see your work friends because they’re doing so much more than just sharing the latest bit of gossip or keeping you company during lunch. Studies show that their presence is actually so important, it could lead you to better success and happiness in your job. In fact, since a general boost in productivity is good for everyone, your boss should really be begging you to spend those extra few minutes socializing.
This is firstly because Gallup’s report on employee engagement in the workplace showed a much higher likelihood of employees finding satisfaction in work when they are able to cultivate friendships. While the report found that 70% of employees were disengaged from work, it realized that this could be rectified when employees were motivated through their relationships.
Meaning to say, having friends in the workplace makes you more driven to do well and helps you see the value in the work you do. This is due to the ties with your friends creating an “in it together” mentality, making the work mean more than just your own individual stake. In fact, the study showed those with a ‘work best friend’ were 7 times more likely to fully engage with tasks and projects as their best friends gave moral support and encouraged them to do their best.
Workforce intelligence company Evolv conducted a series of studies called “The Friendship Effect” which also backs up the idea that friendships increase work productivity. Dr. Michael Housman, Evolv’s Director of Analytics, explains:
Our studies found that rather than just a pleasant happenstance, work friendships significantly affect employee attrition and productivity. It is this simple: employees referred by their friends are less likely to quit and are more productive; employees who are trained in a generally ‘friendly’ culture stay twice as long; and if you have friends at work, you are more likely to stay at that job.
This was based on 3 separate studies which looked into the role of referrals, the cultivation of work culture, and general social behavior in driving workforce profitability. They found that referred employees were 8-20% less likely to quit and engage in misbehavior. Friendly and interactive environments also played a role in producing better-trained employees. While employees who knew at least 3 people at work would probably stay with the company.
Dr. David Ostberg, Evolv’s Vice President of Selection Science, used this as an indication that social embeddedness in the workplace was truly significant:
The more socially embedded a person is in an organization, the more likely they are to establish deeper bonds on the job, which of course helps them deal with the normal hiccups in any position. Basically, these employees are less likely to turnover and more likely to perform at a higher level because they’re more invested, socially speaking.
This is confirmed by international author and speaker on happiness at work, Alexander Kjerulf. He explained in a Forbes report the importance of socializing with coworkers:
If you’re not able to relate to your coworkers as human beings and build positive relationships, your career will suffer. Socializing and getting to know them as people will help you to communicate better, trust each other more and work better together.
Also, employees who have positive workplace relationships are happier at work (in fact, good workplace relationships are one of the most important sources of workplace happiness) and we know that people who are happy at work are more productive, more creative and more successful overall.
So next time your coworker offers to accompany you on a coffee run or strikes up some small talk on the way to the office remember that friends are important even in professional spaces.
Do you think that this study is accurate? Let us know why or why not in the comments!