Read the Work Family Report 2018

New research commissioned by One4all into work relationships has found:

  • A whopping 75% of Irish adults agree that having friendships at work is an important aspect of their work life, and 7 in 10 believe that having work friends would make them more likely to stay with a company – however, close to half (46%) say they have no close friends at work 

  • Two thirds of Irish workers (68%) are happier at work when they are personally close with co-workers, with 61% agreeing they are more engaged

  • 60% of Irish workers are friendly with their boss 

  • 67% of Irish workers at smaller companies say their workplace encourages friendships, compared to 61% overall 

  • 68% of Irish workers feel they have a co-worker they can confide in when stressed or upset at work

New research by One4all has found that a significant 75% of Irish workers agree that having friendships and personal relationships at work is an important aspect of their work life. Despite this, close to half (46%) of respondents said that they have no close friends at work.

The research, commissioned by One4all and undertaken by Coyne, informs One4all’s Work Family Report – which aims to explore Irish employees’ attitudes towards office friendships and work ‘families’, and how these relationships impact employee happiness, engagement, and mental health.

Work Family and Engagement

Results of the Work Family report show that encouraging friendships in work can be of real and tangible benefit to Irish businesses. Two thirds of Irish workers (68%) agree that they are happier at work when they develop friendships with their co-workers.

When it comes to engagement, work family also plays a part – 61% of Irish workers agree that they are more engaged with work when personally close to co-workers. Four out of five believe their workplace is a friendly environment and feel a sense of loyalty to their co-workers, and seven in ten state that having friends at work would make them more likely to stay with a job.

On the flip side, 55% of employers find it more difficult to do their job when they don’t feel close to others on their team. This, when coupled with the fact that nearly half don’t have any close friends at work, highlights an opportunity for Irish businesses to focus on company culture and strengthening relationships within the workplace.

Smaller Companies Win Out

The research found that smaller companies (10 employees or less), such as start-ups, are more likely to encourage work friendships, with 67% of employees at smaller companies agreeing that their workplace encourages friendships, compared to 61% overall. Those in smaller companies are more likely to socialise with co-workers outside of work hours – 59% do, compared to the 52% average.

Smaller companies are also more likely to have strong communication with staff and to encourage work friendships. 72% of those who work in smaller companies say their management communicates well with staff compared to 64% overall, while 67% of those in smaller companies say their workplace encourages friendships, compared to 61% overall. According to Irish workers, smaller companies offer the most supportive environments – 70% of those in a smaller company say there is a supportive environment, compared to 66% overall.

Additionally, far more people working in smaller companies (72% compared to 62% overall) feel invested in their company’s future.

Work Family and Mental Health

The research has also found that Irish workplaces are generally supportive work environments, with 68% of workers agreeing that they have a co-worker they can confide in when stressed or upset. On top of this, 66% of people view their current workplace as a supportive environment, with this figure rising to 70% among those working for start-ups.

While overall this research shows Irish workplaces in a positive light in terms of employee support, there is still some work to be done, as there are still a significant one in four Irish workers that do not feel as if they have a colleague they can speak to when stressed or upset. The same number do not feel there is good internal communications in their workplace, or that their workplace encourages friendships between employees.

Michael Dawson, CEO, One4all, said of the new findings: “This latest research into office culture has uncovered some very interesting results, particularly around Irish workers’ attitude towards relationships at work. The results show, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Irish workers place an importance on developing relationships at work – and that these friendships are having a positive impact on their overall happiness and engagement in the workplace. It is also positive to see that the majority of Irish workers view their workplace as a supportive environment and feel they can confide in co-workers.

“However, there is still some ground to be covered to ensure that adequate support is available for all employees, especially during crunch periods when employees are more likely to be stressed. Irish employers need to examine whether they are creating an inclusive and friendly environment, with a strong office culture, to help their workers stay happy, healthy, and engaged.”

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