Findings from Randstad‘s latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 32 countries around the world, reveal that making friends at work is very important to Canadians and could be a key factor to workplace happiness. According to the survey, 66% of Canadian employees indicate they have close friendships with colleagues. Additionally, 54% report that having pleasant colleagues is more important to them than having a good salary while 53% say they spend time with colleagues outside working hours.
The results are similar around the world, as 71% of global respondents say they have close friendships with colleagues and 64% meet up with their co-workers outside working hours. The exceptions are in Brazil 93% and Hong Kong 91% where a significant amount of employees indicate they have close friendships with colleagues. While in Luxembourg, only 20% of employees say they have friends at work.
Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Randstad Canada reinforces the fact that workers tend to be happier at their jobs when they cultivate meaningful friendships with co-workers. “Canadians associate a good working environment with having good relationships with their colleagues. They see these relationships not as a threat to their productivity, but rather as a key factor that influences their satisfaction at work,” she says.
Survey results found that only 21% of Canadian employees believe friendships with colleagues interfere with their work, which is close to the global average 26%. The portrait is very different in China (60%), Hong Kong (61%) and India (59%), where the majority of respondents are under the impression that friendships with colleagues does interfere with their performance at work.
The survey data also reveals that globally, social media is seen by employees as a way to further develop contact between colleagues. In Canada, 44% of respondents indicate that they have more contact with co-workers outside work due to social media. The impact of social media on the relationship between colleagues is even stronger in countries like China, where 83% of respondents say it boosts the interaction they have with colleagues outside the workplace.
According to Parker, social media and other initiatives have opened up a whole new world of social interaction. “Team-building activities, open and common spaces, along with new communication channels like Intranets and social media play a big role in fostering communication and building relationships inside and outside work. It’s clear that employees in Canada and around the world are taking advantage of these tools and opportunities to foster positive relationships and create the kind of work atmosphere that they enjoy working in,” she says.
Parker says workplace friendships can be a good thing for a company’s overall business. “There is no denying that workplace friendships can contribute to a positive workplace culture. It means increased productivity and creativity, heightened morale, enhanced personal performance and stronger team cohesiveness,” she explains. “Employers who encourage a positive and collaborative workplace will gain a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting top talent.”