With U.S. companies losing roughly $300 billion to burnout and stress-related costs every year, finding the Biden to your Obama in the workplace is more important than ever. Beyond the companionship, new research has shown that office friendships can be fundamental in improving employee morale and resilience.
This was indicated in a recent study highlighted in the Harvard Business Review. It found that 50 percent of American workers felt increasingly lonely due to work-related exhaustion, but noted that having friends in the workplace could drastically improve health and happiness.
Emma Seppala of Stanford University and Marissa King at Yale found that employees who create and maintain friendships are more likely to experience higher levels of self-esteem. They’re also more productive and cooperative.
When people don’t get to know their coworkers because of exhaustion, it takes a toll on both their personal productivity and the company’s performance. According to Gallup, organizations plagued by employee disengagement experience 49 percent more accidents and have a 65 percent lower share price than their competitors over time.
Having a close friend—or work wife, husband, or spouse, as the kids call it— has been shown to increase employee engagement and customer satisfaction. As Fast Company writer Anya Kamenetz explains, businesses whose employees engage with one another on a regular basis have a success rate almost four times greater than those companies whose employees did not.
One thing is clear: creating healthy relationships in your office is a must. Though their jokes may be poorly crafted, be sure to flash your co-workers a smile next time—our happiness could depend on it. Just ask Joe and Barack.