The idea of your co-workers also being your close friends may seem odd or unlikely, given the complex nature of the workplace environment. Yet social connection is a basic human need and one that we all crave to be happy. It’s no secret that on average we spend anywhere between 8-10 hours per day at work, which undoubtedly leaves minimal time to fulfill our social needs outside of our jobs. During the pockets of leisure time that we do have, we are mostly tending to our families’ needs, running errands or catching up on some much-needed rest after a long week. Today, it has even become a staple to follow memes on our social media accounts depicting how we continuously make future plans with friends, coupled with the secret hope that they cancel them just so we can stay in to sleep and/or watch Netflix instead. Nodding your head? That’s because we have all lived this scenario.
Our ever-evolving society and social routines are changing and thus our social connections and processes are as well. The truth is, fostering close friendships at work not only will improve our fundamental human need for social connection and belonging, but will also improve our overall productivity and health.
Here’s why you should cultivate friendships at work
Friendships boost morale.
Think about how you relate to friends and how the conversations with them make you feel. They lighten our moods, make us laugh and help us vent and sort through everyday stressors, both personal and work-related. To have that kind of support in a workplace setting will drive employees further. Friendships act as a natural buffer to stress and build a team-like mentality of taking charge of anything that may come your way. This can be so beneficial, especially during tough times on the job. Having that buffer in place can help redirect employees’ energy in a positive way and cultivate increased productivity and success.
Friendships make you more engaged, more productive, and happier on the job.
A Gallop study was conducted in which more than 15 million people were asked if they had a best friend at work. Their findings revealed that only 30 percent of employees have a best friend at work but those who do are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, have higher well-being and are less likely to get injured on the job. Gallop also found that people with fewer close social relationships have nearly two times the risk of dying from heart disease and are twice as likely to catch colds.
Each hour of social time per day reduces the chances of having a bad day by 10 percent.
Imagine experiencing all good days at your job- that is a powerful visual and one that would render powerful company gains. It appears that close friendships are vital to our health, mentality, well-being and workplace productivity. It is therefore imperative that we do everything we can to stimulate the means of establishing and strengthening the social network around us, and this should start at the office.
Nurturing an atmosphere of connection and friendliness is the most important, since friendship is built upon the concepts of vulnerability, authenticity and compassion.
At Fitspot, we are all about team building and creating feel-good, friendly vibes. We are a close-knit group and lead by example, regularly partaking in team lunches and fun, creative outings. For example, members from our NYC team just recently went to a speakeasy magic show! It is crucial for companies to realize the importance of supporting an environment where social connections among workers can grow. Some companies have incorporated “game areas” where they have ping-pong tables or pool tables and others have implemented corporate retreats to foster relationships outside of the office. Fitspot has a ping pong table in the Atlanta office and departments often go head-to-head against each other for friendly competition.
Fitspot is such a valuable resource for integrating community building and social engagement in the workplace. In fact, 50 percent feel closer to their community since Fitspot started services. We provide seamless, on-site group offerings such fitness classes, yoga, meditation, kombucha happy hours, essential oil making, trail mix stations, and educational workshops that provide an accessible outlet for social interaction away from the desk.