It can be easy to focus on the productivity aspect, that by just crossing that one more thing off the to-do list, we’ll be able to get that raise/promotion. Or maybe we’ll make a networking goal to meet just one more person, and they’ll be the one to connect us to the company of our dreams.
Those tips and tricks and hacks are helpful, but it might be time to start focusing more on the emotional and interpersonal goals that will help us not just at work, but also make our lives better.
40% of American adults report being lonely, and because happiness is equated with success here in the U.S., it’s safe to assume that number is higher and many of us just don’t want to admit it. The numbers specific to workplace loneliness can’t be ignored either, as half of CEO’s reported being lonely (maybe it’s not all peaches and cream at the top after all).
Many of us believe that as long as we have friends outside of work, we don’t need to put effort into making meaningful connections at work. That assumption gets us into trouble. Especially because many of us are spending more time at work and much less time away from it. When do you have time for all of those external meaningful relationships?
By putting effort into our personal connections in a professional setting, we are actually setting everyone up for success. When we have better relationships at work we are happier. When we are happier at work we are more engaged. When we are more engaged, we are more productive, collaborative, accountable and invested in our companies. On the other side, our companies can then spend less on turnover and absenteeism. Win-win, right? More importantly, our emotional lives will be richer if we are connected and engaged with our co-workers.
Plus, we all need a partner in crime. And, even more than a partner in crime, we need a partner in venting, someone who actually gets it because they know that grouch in accounting too. And while your roommate is sympathetic, no one will get it quite like your work wife will.
A survey conducted by OC Tanner found this about having a work best friend:

  • 75% of employees who have a best friend at work say they feel they’re able to take anything on, compared to 58% of those who don’t have a best friend at work.
  • 72% of employees who have a best friend at work are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 54% who don’t have a best friend at work.

As the holidays set in and everything is supposed to be joyful and merry, these times also tend to make us more vulnerable to the lows, loneliness definitely included. So, why is this important now?

Because, not only should we dedicate some time to the friendships we already have, but start to forge some new ones. Invite someone new into your group, ask a new hire out to coffee, or just ask someone what their weekend plans are. Small gestures around potentially emotionally fraught times like these can make all the difference in someone’s work experience, which turns out, is more important than we’ve been giving it credit for.

H/T The Harvard Business Review

Nora Philbin

Nora is a co-founder of Happy Spectacular, which she still can't really believe, and she's on a lifelong quest for the world's best cheeseburger (applicants accepted).