Friends United

Report shows power of friendships at work.

Friends United

Australia & New Zealand

A report commissioned byRobert Half has found that Australian workers have positive working relationships with their colleagues. The research found more than eight in 10 (83 per cent) Australian workers say they get along with the people in their immediate team. Further to this, 68 per cent feel the teams within their organisation work well together and 62 per cent even say they have good friends at work.

Interestingly, there are some stark comparisons about how Australians feel about their co-workers across the country with Western Australia lagging behind their East-Coast counterparts. While more than eight in 10 office workers in Queensland (85 per cent), New South Wales (84 per cent) and Victoria (83 per cent) respectively say they get along with their team, this figure drops to 77 per cent for workers in Western Australia. This is also true for team cohesion, with only 57 per cent of Western Australian workers saying they feel their team work well together, compared to 67 per cent in Victoria, 70 per cent in Queensland and 71 per cent in New South Wales. The trend also seems to apply to having work friends as 53 per cent of Australian office workers in Western Australia say they have good friend at work in comparison to 60 per cent in Victoria, 64 per cent in Queensland and 65 per cent in New South Wales.

Those aged between 35 and 54 seem to be less content with their co-workers than their millennial and Baby Boomer aged counterparts: 57 per cent of workers aged 35-54 say they have good friends at work, compared to 65 per cent of those aged 55+ and 66 per cent of workers aged 18-34. The trend also slightly applies to team cohesion, as a further 65 per cent of workers aged 35-54 say their team works well together, compared to 70 per cent of workers aged 18-34 and 72 per cent of workers in the 55+ age group.

The research also found Australian workers who have good relationships with their team are 2.5 times more likely to be happy on the job than those who do not get along with their colleagues.

Getting along with colleagues and having friends at work can make all the difference in not just staff morale but also in company success, as maintaining a close-knit bond with co-workers improves employee communication, collaboration and staff cohesion which in turn can lead to greater innovation,” says Nicole Gorton, director of Robert Half Australia. “Great teamwork and trust amongst colleagues can also help workers better manage the challenges, stress and potential conflicts within the workplace.

“Happy employees are the backbone of a successful organisation as they tend to be more productive and engaged. Incidentally, a lack of good relationships with co-workers and managers is one of the main reasons why employees leave a company. To reap the benefits of a happy workforce and avoid high staff turnover, employers should foster a pleasant work environment where teamwork and friendships within the workplace are encouraged.”


Robert Half has identified the six types of friends you may have in the workplace, and what you should keep in mind when forging these relationships.


The six types of workplace friends


1 The Caring Critic

Getting an honest opinion from someone who has your best interests at heart — and who understands the unique nuances and inner workings of your organisation — can help you fine-tune your approach so you can make the biggest impact and best impression possible.


2 The Party Pooper

Just as the upbeat attitude of a perennial optimist is contagious, frequently fraternising with naysayers can influence your feelings about your job, too. Be careful about aligning yourself with incorrigible whiners who constantly complain or divulge in office gossip. They may not be entirely trustworthy and being too chummy with negative nellies can lead to guilt by association.


3 The Handy Helper

Feeling swamped? It’s beneficial to have a trusted and reliable friend in the office to lean on for both support and assistance when you feel overburdened. While lone-wolf workers might be left to fend for themselves during a deadline emergency, professionals who’ve made the effort to build some strong alliances will have no shortage of helping hands to call upon. 


4 The Talkative Time Sucker

Remember that you’re at work to work. In general, be mindful of how much time you spend socialising. If you’re not careful, you can unwittingly allow chatty work mates to become distractions. Keep the water-cooler banter to a minimum and don’t let lunch hour turn into an all-afternoon banter session. You can always catch up over coffee before work or grab a bite to eat together at the end of the day.


5 The Cool-Headed Veteran

Forging a friendship with a successful and upbeat senior colleague is a smart move. In times of crisis or uncertainty, a time-tested colleague “who’s been down this road before” can impart wisdom and a sense of perspective. These more tenured workers can help you hone new abilities and maintain a healthy, positive attitude.


6 The Favour Thief

If you’re constantly pitching in for a so-called “friend” who never returns the favour, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship. Likewise, if a colleague assisted you in your hour of need, it’s imperative that you reciprocate — even if their request for backup comes at an inopportune time.



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