Having friends at work could have a positive impact on your happiness, research finds

Having and maintaining friendships at work could be crucial to our overall happiness, according to research. 

A recent study, carried out by Harvard, interviewed 168 employees at an insurance company, evaluating the effects that employee friendships had on their work.

According to their research, having friends at work “significantly increased employees performance, as judged by their supervisor.”

The study concluded that depending on a work friend helped employees to understand office systems and allowed them to learn more.

According to further research at  Fast Company, making friends at work could improve our general happiness and impact positively on engagement and productivity in the work place.

Fast Company points out research that shows forming bonds with colleagues can be accomplished in under 45 minutes by focusing on conversations that aren’t related to work, discussing deeper subjects and skipping small talk.

Even discussing success with coworkers can motivate others, according to a survey of global workers.

The research found that employed people between the ages of 25 and 54 spend an average of 8.7 hours a day working or in work-related activities, and that for most, the working week extends well past 40 hours.

A study published in The Atlantic has determined making friends in the office could increase your happiness in the same way earning $77,000 a year would.

Jessica Amortegui of Fast Company said of the research:

“Workplaces that convert their employees’ untenable ties into the durable bonds shared by fast friends will have cultures and communities that are alive and generative – in one word, thriving.”

“As denizens of these communities, we will be doing something even more powerful than bringing our lives and souls with us to work: We will be sharing them with friends.”

Jane Sunley, founder and CEO of the HR consultancy Purple Cubed, told Fast Company that gossip isn’t a good way to fast track friendships and can cause friction within the office.

“You may be finding rapport with some people, but you’re alienating everyone else,” she said.

“Stick to positive interactions and avoid polarising discussions that may pit you against your potential new pal.”

The results show that work relationships could improve collaboration and work flow in your office and give you a happier work life.

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