Many employers organise social events to develop corporate culture and strengthen team bonding. Image: ShutterstockS
ince humans are social animals, they have a natural tendency to bond with their peers. This is especially true in the workplace, where people spend most of their time. But young professionals are particularly keen to develop friendships with their colleagues, a survey reports.
The figures speak for themselves: 63 percent of Gen Zers say they have a best friend at work, according to a recent survey
conducted on behalf of the Glassdoor website. In comparison, 51 percent of all employees polled for this survey claim to have a best friend in the workplace. This suggests that young people are more interested in expanding their circle of friends at the office.
Friendship can make a significant contribution to happiness at work. The overwhelming majority of respondents feel that it gives them support in their professional lives (83 percent), which makes working days more enjoyable (79 percent). For 78 percent, it also helps them feel less stressed.
But making friends with colleagues takes time. Research shows that it takes an average of 50 hours to develop a casual friendship, and 200 hours to become close friends. Some employees, however, are willing to invest their time in building friendships where they work.
Employers often encourage their staff to do just that. Many of them organize social events (afterwork drinks, company parties, and so on) to develop corporate culture and strengthen team bonding. A phenomenon that is on the increase at a time when many employees report feeling highly isolated. Also read: How are middle managers falling down most often on employee inclusion?
The individualization of tasks and the rise of hybrid working have fuelled a profound sense of unease among some employees, especially those who regularly work remotely. Nearly a third of remote workers say they feel lonely at work, compared to 21 percent of those who work from their company's premises.
While the office can be a great place for making friends, the workplace can sometimes jeopardize the friendships it helps to foster. Rivalries can arise, for example, if two friends are competing for the same job, or if one has a better relationship with management than the other. Of course, it's all a question of character. Professional friendships can last for years without a hitch. But the key to success lies in defusing conflicts and talking frankly about each other's expectations and desires.*This survey was conducted online by Murphy Research, on behalf of the Glassdoor website, among 1,000 full-time American employees aged 22 to 64. Data was collected between July 24 and August 1, 2023.