Why You Should Care About Having Friends At Work

Research has found that strong social connections at the office can boost productivity, and could make employees more passionate about their work and less likely to quit their jobs.

The Huffington Post|By Carolyn Gregoire

According to Christine M. Riordan, provost and professor of management at the University of Kentucky, camaraderie is a key ingredient to happiness at work for male and female employees. A study led by Riordan, published in the Journal of Business Psychology in the ’90s, found that the mere opportunity for friendship increases employee job satisfaction and organizational effectiveness.

In a recent Harvard Business Review blog “We All Need Friends At Work,” Riordan pointed towards the multitude of evidence suggesting that office friendships can act as an antidote to dissatisfaction and disengagement at work. The type of relationships that go beyond casual Gchat buddies — what she calls calls “the good old-fashioned friendships created when we chit-chat, hang out, joke, and have fun with co-workers” — can have deep and far-ranging benefits in the workplace.

She writes:

Camaraderie is more than just having fun… It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together. Studies have shown that soldiers form strong bonds during missions in part because they believe in the purpose of the mission, rely on each other, and share the good and the bad as a team. In short, camaraderie promotes a group loyalty that results in a shared commitment to and discipline toward the work.

Employees who enjoy this type of camaraderie are more likely to stay at their jobs and feel loyal to the company they work for. Riordan cites a 2012 Gallup report which found that 50 percent of employees with a best friend at work reported that they feel a strong connection with their company, compared to just 10 percent of employees without a best friend at work.

Still, many of us draw lines separating our work and personal lives, seeing friendship as something that happens outside of the office.

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