Employees put more trust in their coworkers than they do their company leadership.
In the British incarnation of “The Office,” Tim (the Jim equivalent), observes, “The people you work with are people you were just thrown together with. You don’t know them, It wasn’t your choice, and yet you spend more time with them than you do your friends or your family. But probably all you’ve got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for eight hours a day.”
But a new survey finds that workplace friendships have a big impact on the experience of working for a company. Peer relationships “are critical to job happiness, commitment and creating more milestone experiences,” according to the Fall 2014 Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker.
As Martin Freeman’s Tim observed, substantially more time is spent with colleagues than with family. Ninety-one percent of survey respondents reported spending more than 30 hours a week with the former, while 52 percent said they spend the same amount of time with family.
Nearly all survey respondents (95 percent) said they had made a friend at work, while 18 percent of employees said they had made at least 25. One-third report having one to five work friends.
Employees put more trust in their coworkers than they do their company leadership (87 percent vs. 68 percent).
Nearly three-fourths of surveyed employees said they have laughed with colleagues so hard that they cried, while six-in-ten have leaned on their co-workers for support during a hard time.
These connections go a long way toward fostering a positive mindset on the job, the survey finds. Roughly 90 percent of respondents said that work relationships are important to their quality of life, while 93 percent said they value the respect of work friends or colleagues.
Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of employees with between 6-25 co-worker friends love their companies, compared with only 24 percent who do not have friends at work. Employees want their work friends included in any company recognition of a work anniversary. Almost 30 percent report being more likely to feel appreciated if they work in companies where co-workers are included in their anniversary celebration, and 44 percent are more likely to identify themselves as highly engaged with their company.
Conversely, 79 percent of respondents with no work friends would accept another job offer.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.