Work and Friendship: Does Community Boost Productivity?
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”
—James Cash Penney
People spend a lot of time at work. When you include commuting (as you should), the average person spends more than half their waking hours working. This means that they often see their colleagues more than they see their family and friends.
Business owners are becoming more and more alert to the dangers of dissatisfied employees. Once, people would have assumed that an unproductive worker was being unproductive because they were lazy. We now know that workers become less productive when they’re unhappy. Modern jobs are hardly the most spirit-boosting things in the world, so this becomes a problem!
Something that creates a massive boost when it comes to worker satisfaction is a feeling of a community. It’s a feeling of having friends in the workplace, of being part of something. Working with the right people can really make or break any given job. So, does community boost productivity? Continue reading to find out.
The issues office friendships create
A lot of business owners may not like the idea of employees being friendly with each other. Admittedly, it does pose a few problems. What you don’t want is for the workplace to have a sort of “high school” vibe to it. People will, inevitably, drift towards more alike people. In social situations, workers will often form groups. If things begin to feel exclusive, this can sometimes have an alienating effect on employees, especially newer ones.
Someone getting a promotion and becoming the boss of good friends they’ve made can also create awkward scenarios! Conflicts of interests can also arise, or even accusations of favoritism. But here’s the problem: unless you ban everyone from socializing, there’s not much you can do to prevent any of this.
Creating a community
The best thing you can do is try to foster that feeling of community that will come with a workplace. At the end of the day, workers that don’t feel that connected to the people around them simply won’t be as productive. So it’s in everyone’s best interest that social inclusion in the workplace is worked on. One of the best ways to build feelings of community is for everyone to have shared goals. This, of course, should be fairly simple if you’re all working in the same business! Make sure everyone feels united in their common interests.
Each worker should also be encouraged to make opinions and suggestions known to others. You should also make sure that there are great opportunities for people to interact on a more casual level. Office break rooms and kitchens are great examples. Don’t feel the need to punish people if they spend a couple of minutes more or so in these areas due to socialization. As long as their productivity levels are good, then it’s probably helping your business!
Sometimes, a worker comes along who seems to want to spoil it for everyone. If someone is causing “bad vibes” in the workplace, you should probably have a word with them. Don’t allow feelings of ill-will to fester. If someone is having difficulty integrating, consider asking them about it. It’s possible that they haven’t worked in an office driven by such a strong culture!
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