Why Employers Should Encourage Positive Relationships

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Health Assured team

02 October 2018

Positive relationships in the workplace are important for employees to feel valued, secure, and happy. Find out what they offer and how to encourage them here.

Work plays a major role in our lives, with full time workers committing at least 40 hours of every week to, and in some cases much more. Full time employees likely spend more time in the work environment than they do awake at home from Monday-Friday, which means they’re also spending more time with their colleagues than they do with their partners, family, or friends.

It’s for these reasons that positive work relationships are integral to employee happiness, wellbeing, and productivity. A well-rounded working environment should offer employees more than just a salary, pension scheme, and job satisfaction, it should provide the opportunity to build positive and meaningful relationships between colleagues.

Building relationships at work contributes towards employees’ overall wellbeing. Jobs can be stressful at times, but building positive relationships with colleagues who can provide compassionate advice and support in hard times can help to negate stress.

Positive relationships can also help employees who are dealing with stress or other difficulties outside of work. In the case of mental health, this is particularly important. Having people to talk to in work, whether formally or informally, can be a lifeline for someone suffering with anxiety or depression.

There is strong evidence that job roles with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive, with the results of addressing mental health at work leading to increases in productivity of up to 12%.

Employees who have positive relationships with their colleagues will also have an improved attitude towards and commitment to the organisation. Having meaningful interactions with colleagues adds value to their days above just completing work and means that they are less likely to get burned out during busy periods.

Positive work relationships also help to make employees feel valued, involved, and secure in their job, rather than being isolated. Workplace loneliness can be a large factor in job dissatisfaction, poor wellbeing, and even physical health in the worst cases.

However, loneliness isn’t just caused by a lack of positive relationships, it can also be a result of an overly competitive working environment or a lack of cooperation between employees in projects.

lonely in the workplace


How to encourage positive relationships in a business or organisation. 

There are a range of different ways that employers can encourage the development and maintenance of positive relationships. These methods of bringing employees together don’t just help to improve their wellbeing and happiness, but also strengthens their ability to work together effectively and efficiently.

  • Make time for socialising in the with colleagues rather than enforcing strict rules around talking. Water cooler moments and desk conversations are a staple of building working relationships and help contribute to wellbeing, as long as they’re not taking over the work day
  • Organise regular social events, whether in the work environment or periodically outside of work. A work social event gives employees the opportunity to strengthen their employees relationships outside of their usual environment and create bonding opportunities that can bring teams together
  • Pursue fun teambuilding opportunities like summer events, sports days, workshops, and conferences. Although teambuilding can be ineffective if carried out wrongly, a good teambuilding exercise will bring employees closer together and make them work more effectively as a unit
  • Encourage inter-team and inter-department collaboration on projects. Bringing teams or departments together who don’t often interact is a good way to expand and build upon working relationships amongst employees.

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