The role of friendships and social connections in employee wellbeing

The Power of Friendships and Social Connections in Supporting Employee Wellbeing

As workplaces across the globe increasingly prioritize employee wellbeing, it’s becoming clear that personal relationships and connection play a key role in creating a positive work environment. Cultivating an office environment that encourages and fosters friendships and social connections is now seen as a crucial aspect of promoting employee wellbeing. In this article, we explore the importance and benefits of friendships and social connections in the workplace.

Benefits of Social Connections at Work

  1. Improved Mental Health: One of the most significant benefits of creating a social workplace is improved mental health. Social isolation is a detrimental force; conversely, social connection brings positive well-being benefits and helps to prevent depression. Employees who feel connected with colleagues are less stressed, more engaged and find greater meaning in their work.

  2. Higher Job Satisfaction: Friendships at work also create a work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. Research suggests that happy employees are more productive, take fewer sick days, and report higher job satisfaction and engagement.

  3. Sense of Community: Friendships also foster a sense of workplace community, which translates into a positive workplace culture that values employee wellbeing. When people feel part of a community, they will contribute positively to it and thrive within it.

How to Encourage Work Friendships

  1. Celebrate Success: Encourage social connections by highlighting individual and team successes. Host celebratory lunches, dinners or small, socially-distanced events for employees to catch up.

  2. Encourage Collaboration: Assign work tasks in a way that emphasizes peer collaboration and co-working. This approach fosters camaraderie and mutual support and sets the tone for a more friendly work environment.

  3. Support Social Support: Encourage employees to check-in for both job-related and personal support. Regularly hold one-on-one meetings to discuss work and non-work related issues with employees to show interest and empathy.

  4. Build Connections through shared interests: Interest groups, hobby clubs, volunteer days or team exercises can all help to bring likeminded employees together. Team building activities provide people with an opportunity to socialize while promoting cohesiveness within the team.

How to Ensure Social Connections are Effective

  1. Foster Diverse Networks: Encourage employees to befriend colleagues from different departments or teams; this creates a larger, more diverse network. Diversity brings fresh perspectives and encourages creativity and growth.

  2. Encourage Open Communication: In order to foster meaningful connections with colleagues, employees need to be able to communicate in an open and honest way. Encourage employees to discuss concerns or worries either within their team or via social support – the workplace can be a supportive, understanding environment.

  3. Make Time: Encourage frequently updating the team calendar with social activities and mentoring programs to build a relationship with their colleagues.

Ultimately, friendships and social connections play a crucial role in supporting employee wellbeing. By encouraging social connection and cultivating a sense of community in the workplace, employers can significantly improve employee happiness, work satisfaction, and mental health. A positive work culture with supportive colleagues can be the difference between a productive workplace and a workplace that struggles with employee retention and burnout. By prioritizing and supporting these relationships, employers are creating safe and supportive communities for their teams.

Links to Tools Mentioned:

  • Slack (
  • HubSpot (
  • SocialBee (