Recent news of a 'friendship recession' - where fewer of us have close friends - might be a surprise. But it began in the pandemic, where lockdown and isolating meant we were meeting fewer people, and not seeing those we already knew.
Furthermore, it impacted work - even now post-pandemic, many people are joining companies as remote workers, and not meeting colleagues in person.
Today's Top Stories
- 'Clearly banter' | HR worker sues employer for asking him who would be in his threesome
- 'Shake it off' | Inspiration for HR professionals from Taylor Swift as she's named Time's Person of the Year 2023
- DE&I | The fundamental keys to honing a diverse talent pool
- Big Interview | Katie Warrington, Head of HR Services, Volkswagen Financial Services UK
- Work Culture | How to create and sustain a resilient and healthy working culture
And with Sunday July 30 marking International Day of friendship it might be time to think more closely about what you can do to encourage the bond between your staff, and with colleagues for the benefit of the wider business.
Claire Gray, co-founder of executive support recruiter Bain and Gray, comments: "Are work friendships conducive to productivity? Absolutely, yes. Having work friendships can help individuals to resolve problems and overcome challenges by sharing experiences, providing moral support and reassurance that is vital to wellbeing. Mixing with workplace friends can brighten your day and make you feel valued in a way that can be missed out on by those who are working full time in a remote capacity.
Learning simple techniques such as asking a colleague how they are, or if they had a nice weekend, can make all the difference.
1) Buddy systems and Anchor Days
A buddy system is helpful particularly when a senior member of staff is given the opportunity to mentor a new starter," explains Claire Gray. "That bond often deepens throughout the duration of their career and eventually the junior will be encouraged to foster relationships with new starters themselves. Companies should facilitate greater understanding of mental health in the workplace with training days. Learning simple techniques such as asking a colleague how they are, or if they had a nice weekend, can make all the difference. An anchor day once a week when all the team are in the office is also a good idea to foster stronger working relationships. In a remote working environment where face-to-face time and water cooler moments are limited, professional online forums can be a good way of sharing resources, exchanging information, and meeting like-minded people. Encouraging employees to attend face-to-face industry events and giving them the right tools to network confidently and develop close contacts with other professionals can also help combat isolation."