The importance of a friendly working environment
The idea that working environments should be integrating stronger social dynamics is one which has captured a lot of momentum in recent years. Obviously there is a clear distinction between a social environment and a working environment, however, many argue that a working environment benefits greatly by incorporating more relaxed, personal, and friendly influences. Not only does research suggest that having a more friendly working environment results in higher job satisfaction among employees, but it also leads to increased productivity and a higher rate of engagement. With low employee engagement being a hot topic at the moment, business owners and managers should be investigating the possibility making their working environments more social and friendly. Research shows that being friends with co-workers results is drastically improved job satisfaction. Research published by Gallup showed that having just one close friend at work can boost employee job satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend in the office are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work. The beauty of these findings, is that it is relatively easy and inexpensive to create a social, friendly environment in a work space. At the core, it requires those in leadership roles to embrace a set of ideals, and then lead from the front by embracing them on a personal level. CEO of Pollock & Associates, Caz Pollock, believes that in order to create an atmosphere characterized by friendship and camaraderie, "Leaders have to model the culture themselves. As a leader it is important to identify your vision for the internal dynamics of your company. If you want to foster an environment that is friendly, then you need to spend time with your employees, treat them with respect, allow them to have fun, have fun with them, and most importantly, put them first." The benefits of fostering friendships in the workplace are numerous. People work better together when they have a shared ideal. It is much easier to achieve this in an environment where people are able to behave like people, and that means embracing the social nature of positive group dynamics. In this space, employees are more likely to become friends with each other and feel like they are working for a common goal that they are personally invested in. Naturally, there are certain downsides to having friendships in the workplace, such as negative cliques, spit loyalties, and loss of time, but evidence suggests that these are manageable, and the pros that come with this sort of business environment offset the cons.