- In a poll of 3,000 full-time workers, 82% respondents said they consider at least one of their co-workers to be a friend. Olivet College in Michigan conducted a survey on whether workers view each other as friends and concluded that most workplaces do foster friendships.
- The survey also found that respondents considered 41% of their fellow employees as co-workers rather than friends, and participants saw another 22% of co-workers as strangers. A fifth of colleagues were named "only-at-work friends" and 15% snagged the title of real friends. Only 2% were labeled as enemies. Participants said they have an average of five friends at work and 29% said they had found a best friend in a colleague.
- Most respondents (76%) said they're satisfied with the number of friends they have, while 20% said they wish they had more. More than half of respondents (58%) said they typically befriend a co-worker within a few days or weeks, with those in the marketing, insurance, retail, restaurant and real estate industries making friends the fastest and those in HR, engineering, finance, healthcare and government taking longer to form friendships. Survey results also showed that once employees become friends, they talk frankly about pay.
Employees, especially younger employees, say they like jobs and workplaces boasting a community atmosphere. Many employers endeavor to create such an aura in their offices by designating co-working spaces or constructing in-office coffee shops to bring people together.
Such perks can be effective, but it's likely that genuine friendships (even those that are confined to the office) among co-workers will give rise to robust work communities. Promoting friendly cultures doesn't just benefit the employee — an office full of happy workers willing to collaborate may enhance productivity.
Overly chummy co-workers can hamper productivity, though, and annoy fellow workers with constant chatter. Employees named chatty coworkers as the top workplace distraction in an Udemy survey released in March.
As workers become friends, they're more likely to engage in frank discussions on various taboo employment topics like pay. Employers that still wish employees wouldn't discuss salaries may not be able to stop such talk. As employees demand more transparency in the workplace on topics that directly affect them, employers would be wise to make transparency a business practice.