Many American workers have shifted to full-time remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have not yet returned to the office. How we interact and form, relationships with the people we work with has changed dramatically with the shift towards full-time remote work.
To get a feel for the state of workplace friendships, JobSage recently surveyed 1,200 American workers. Their research found that fully remote workers have 33% fewer friends at work!
Americans report difficulty making work friends in a remote setting.
The survey from JobSage found that over 8 in 10 surveyed respondents reported having a difficult time making friends while working remotely for their job. On top of that, 20% of those surveyed said they currently have zero work friends. Additionally, 66% of those surveyed said they have worked in a remote environment for over a year without making friends. Fully remote workers also have fewer friends than their counterparts who work in an in-person office setting.
Why does having friends at work matter?
Is there a measurable value in having friends in the workplace? The survey from JobSage found that over 9 in 10 respondents said they were happier at their job with at least one work friend. In addition, 76% of respondents said they were more creative with work friends, and 74% reported being more productive at work because of their work friendships. Workers who have work friendships are also more likely to stay at their current job. Over 9 in 10 respondents reported that their willingness to stay at their company was directly related to their friendships within the organization. Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z were even more likely to stay a company because of their friendships.
Friendships in the workplace also bring people from different generations together. Most respondents (65%) said they have a work friendship with someone older than them. The idea of work moms and work dads is something we see from these survey results. On top of that, many respondents report being friends with a direct supervisor. In addition, 64% of surveyed respondents said they maintain a friendship with their boss or manager, and nearly half (49%) have done something with their boss or manager outside of work.
The state of workplace friendships now and in the future
As mentioned in this report, workplace friendships are shifting with remote work. However, Americans are still optimistic about the value of workplace friendships. Nearly a third of respondents reported making most of their friendships in the workplace. This number was even higher for older generations like Baby Boomers and Gen X. Nearly half of respondents said there’s a coworker they want to be closer friends with. Despite the challenges of making friends in a remote setting, 25% said they have a friend whom they’ve never met in person at work.
To see the full report, check the findings from JobSage – https://www.jobsage.com/blog/coworker-friendships-survey/.