We spend most of our waking hours at work, on average 90,000 of them over the course of our lives, often seeing co-workers more than we see our family and friends. We see our colleagues almost everyday in fact, whether through video catchups, calls or just meeting at the watercooler, but regardless of location, positive interpersonal relationships make the working day better.
More than half of workers in the UK admit to feeling lonely in the workplace according to CV Library, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Making the effort to build up long lasting friendships with colleagues has many advantages beyond just having someone to chat to and hang out with.
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Productivity and Creativity
Having friends at work reduces isolation, you feel connected with others around you and more upbeat. Better communication leads to more ideas flowing, which leads to new projects, tasks and higher engagement. Research from Wildgoose shows that 57% of employees find having a “best friend” at work makes their job more enjoyable, boosting productivity and creativity.
Great company culture isn’t built on bean bags, casual Fridays, or the football table, it’s all about the people. Positive interactions, relations, communication and collaboration build the foundation of a great place to be. Company culture is key to job retention with only 19% of executives believing their company has the “right culture”, something that can be improved through effective team bonding. So having the right friends around you helps to make your company culture a place of belonging, improving how you feel day to day.
This all leads to job satisfaction, the happier you are the less likely you will feel like leaving. A good friendship can boost job satisfaction by nearly 50% according to statistics from the National Business Research Institute.
So taking the time to build some good working relationships can drastically increase your happiness at work and your likelihood of staying, but how do you build those relationships in the first place?
How to make friends at your job
When you first join a company, take the opportunity to set up calls with team members of differing levels, so you can get some insight into the company, it’s culture and working practices. Apart from the company intel you can take the opportunity to ingratiate yourself and start off things on a high note.
If your company employs a buddy system, take advantage of it, it’s a great chance not just to learn the ropes, but to grab a drink, have a biscuit, get comfy, and chat; it’s not all about work.
If you are just struggling to reach out and break the ice, try and broach some very general subjects and see where the conversation leads. Ask your colleague about their interests, explore what you might have in common, attending work events is also a good idea, as it is a chance to bond in a less formal atmosphere where you may feel more at ease. Asking your team mates for help or input on projects and tasks is also a good excuse to build rapport.
Am I the problem?
It’s also a good idea to reflect on your personality traits, working on becoming more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. If you are having a bad day, do you let it affect how you treat others around you? It’s wise to check in with yourself mentally everyday, with an honest appraisal of your recent behaviour, what worked, what didn’t and what could you do better going forwards.
Practicing this sort of mindfulness will enable you to better understand your emotions, evaluate how best to process them and generally gain some perspective about yourself. In the long term this will lead you to becoming more open, insightful and self-aware, traits highly valued in a friend.
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