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Work friend or foe?

On average we spend eight hours a day, five days a week with people from work.

Often more time is spent in the workplace with colleagues than at home with family or friends. So it’s important to maintain a good relationship with our colleagues for our well-being.

A study by Relate in 2014 found that employees are about as likely to have as much daily contact with work colleagues (62%) as they are with own children (64%). Just under half were more likely to have daily contact with their bosses than with their mothers (26%) or friends (16%).

A major factor in someone’s experience at work is with the people that they work with. Since you spend so much time together it can make or break your experience there .

An ONS survey asked people if they had a ‘best friend’ at work, 58% of people said they had at least one close friend at work, and 22% said they have three or more close friends. Interestingly, 42% of respondents said they didn’t count any colleagues as close friends.

From a employers perspective, the happier we are at work, the better quality of work and more productive we are.

Robertson Cooper cite workplace relationships as one of the 6 essentials of workplace well-being, which in turn affects business-level outcomes. In fact, their survey of over 40,000 UK employees found that good working relationships are a strong predictor of positive psychological wellbeing.

Here are a few considerations for employers to enrich their colleagues work lives:

  • Promote a supporting culture – are your employee’s supported at work? Consider how approachable your leaders are?
  • Are managers rewarded for their ability or for their people skills? What expectations do you have your management team? What are their main points of focus?
  • Address conflict promptly- conflicts and strained relations are an inevitable part of work life. Dealing with them professionally and promptly prevents the situation escalating further.

By taking on a few of these suggestions you can transform your working environment and promote a culture of more friends than foes.

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