Thursday 6 October 2016

Office friends could help you within your job

office friends

Good friends at work makes people healthier and leads them to stay within their job, a new report claims.

But women feel less close to people at work than men, probably due to "masculine" office cultures, the researchers suggest.

Psychologists surveyed 19,000 people from around the world and conducted a huge analysis of 58 previous studies.

They found that how strongly we identify with work colleagues is linked to better health and lower burnout and it is more important than whether we like our jobs.

Lead researcher Dr Niklas Steffens of the University of Queensland, Australia, said: "We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organisation provide us with a sense of belonging and community - when it gives us a sense of 'we-ness'.

"This study is the first large-scale analysis showing that organisational identification is related to better health.

"These results show that both performance and health are enhanced to the extent that workplaces provide people with a sense of 'we' and 'us'."

Workers from 15 countries - in professions ranging from army recruits to shop assistants and waiters - were asked about their workplace relationships.

The report, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, revealed that in every job having friends at work is important for both physical and mental health.

Dr Steffens explained: "Social identification contributes to both psychological and physiological health, but the health benefits are stronger for psychological health."

The researchers, from universities in Australia, China and Germany, said they were surprised to find that the more women there were in a sample, the weaker the identification-health relationship.

Dr Steffens said: "This was a finding that we had not predicted and, in the absence of any prior theorising, we can only guess what gives rise to this effect.

"However, one of the reasons may relate to the fact that we know from other research that there are still many workplaces that have somewhat 'masculine' cultures.

"This could mean that even when female employees identify with their team or organisation, they still feel somewhat more marginal within their team or organisation."

The report also revealed that the greater the number of workers identifying strongly with their company, the more health benefits each person working there experiences.

The team recommended further exploring the role of leadership at work and its impact on health.

Dr Steffens said: "Leaders play a key role in shaping a sense of group identity in the workplace, and this is important not only for team performance but also for the mental and physical health of employees."



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