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Firm Management

New Survey Reveals Why Having Friends at Work Matters

According to JobSage, over nine in 10 people said friendships at work impact their willingness to stay at a company.

By Tracey Porpora, Staten Island Advance, N.Y. (TNS)

While the Internet and texting changed the way people communicate, remote workplaces, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, greatly altered the way co-workers socialize.

Meeting once a week on a Zoom call isn’t the same as sitting in a cubicle next to someone. Remote workplaces lack a social element that impedes workplace friendships from forming.

And experts say this can have a negative impact on productivity and a company’s ability to retain employees. When people have good friends at work they tend to stay employed with a company longer, according to JobSage. For this reason, the employee transparency platform surveyed 1,200 Americans to learn more about the state of workplace friendships and relationships today.

Remote Workplaces

New research found that fully remote workers have 33% fewer friends at work.

“Our survey of 1,200 remote workers found that the shift to full-time remote work is impacting social interactions among co-workers for many American workers,” said Kelli Mason, chief operating officer at JobSage. “Younger generations seem most impacted by this shift with millennials (39%) and Gen Z (21%) reporting the highest percentages of demographics without friends in a remote office setting.”

She said this could adversely impact workplaces on a greater level.

“The importance of workplace friendships has measurable value for both entrepreneurs and hiring managers to consider,” said Mason. “Workplace friendships help to create a more happy, creative, and productive workplace environment. Over nine in 10 respondents said friendships at work impact their willingness to stay at a company—95% reported being happier at work, 76% more creative, and 74% more productive.”

One major benefit to workplace friendships is it allows people from different age groups to connect through a common bond.

“One of the most fun parts of work relationships is their sheer diversity. We may have a close friend that we consider a ‘work mom’ or a ‘work dad’ (a significantly older co-worker that we consider a close friend), or more easily forge connections with people of different backgrounds due to working in close proximity. We may even enjoy closeness with a ‘work husband’ or a ‘work wife’ (which 25% of our respondents said they have),” wrote Mason as part of the study.

Study Highlights

The study concluded:

—95% of surveyed respondents say having a friend at work makes them happier.

—92% say friendships at work impact their willingness to stay at a company.

—Despite the positive impact of workplace friendships, one in five Americans have no friends at work and remote workers report having 33% fewer workplace friends.

—Millennials (39%) and Gen Z (21%) are the generations most likely to have no friends at work.

—Despite the challenges of remote work friendships, one in four people have made a work friend they’ve never met in person.


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