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Why You Need To Encourage Friendships in the Workplace

Friends form the foundation of a solid support network. They are there for you when you need a pickup. They are there for you when you need to vent. And they are there for you to celebrate your successes.

It used to be that many people found life-long friends in the workplace, but that has been changing in recent years.

A recent study called the EY Belonging Barometer 2.0 revealed that an overwhelming majority of employees (80%) said they either feel or have felt lonely while at work, something that has been caused in no small part by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most employees also reported they would not talk to their manager if they were experiencing struggles, which accentuates the importance of having good friends in the workplace.

Employers can help employees in this regard by encouraging friendships in the workplace. Here are some reasons why that’s important.

People Spend a Lot of Time at Work

On average, Americans spend the equivalent of nine years or more of their life at work, according to a recent Gallup survey. In total, the average time spent at work in a lifetime is more than 81,000 hours.

It’s obvious to see, then, why having an environment that people like coming to is so important. These hours can certainly drag on — and have huge negative domino effects on other parts of their life — when employees feel lonely at work.

Having friends at work helps to lessen any potential burdens or worries people experience while on the job. Since work is such an enormous part of people’s day-to-day lives, it’s crucial that they enjoy their time there.

Friends Help Reduce Stress

It’s inevitable that people will experience stress at work. Sometimes, this stress is directly related to the work they do, while other times, it’ll be related to something in their personal life that they’ll bring into the office.

Many studies have shown the dangers of stress in the workplace, which can result in people suffering from anxiety and depression, being absent from work more often, being less productive when at work and changing jobs frequently.

Friends are a natural source of stress reduction. Sometimes, people just need to blow off steam, vent for a couple minutes and get perspective from someone they know, love and trust. Friends create a support system for employees, and help them relieve stress by lending a helping hand, or even just an ear, when someone needs it.

Camaraderie Results in Creativity

Having friends creates camaraderie, which helps to make teamwork more enjoyable. When you enjoy working with your colleagues, you’re more likely to care about the work you do and put in your full effort.

When employees have a positive work environment that is nurturing and supportive, they’re more likely to feel included, speak up and be more creative. This leads to not only a happier employee base, but also one that results in more innovation, better communication and increased creativity.

All of this serves to benefit not only the employees themselves but also the company in the long run.

Connections Help Advance Careers

When employees make friends at the office, they are making connections. And connections play a central role in advancing careers.

Friends help to encourage you to try new things, to apply for that promotion or to seek out the resources you need from your manager. Employees can bounce ideas off their friends and gain their feedback before they have to make a work presentation or pitch a new idea, for instance.

When employees establish better connections in the workplace, it often leads to a more successful and rewarding career — within your company. Friends can tell others of an opening in their department, a benefit they might not be taking advantage of or present different angles to overcome a challenge.

Again, these connections serve as the building blocks for successful organizations, and it all starts with friendships.

Foster Work Friendships with the Help of Beckham Insurance Group

All companies today should encourage friendships in the workplace. There are immense benefits not only to the employees but to the company as well when you do so.

There are many ways to do this, including hosting employee get-togethers, providing ample in-office space for people to chat and taking a collaborative approach to work.

Beckham Insurance Group can help businesses located in the South Carolina and Georgia region create an inclusive plan to encourage these work friendships from forming. It can be part of an overarching benefits package that serves as a great recruitment and retention tool as well.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.