Making Friends at Work - Survey Says Majority of Canadians Have Close Relationships with their Colleagues

Jul 26, 2012, 07:00 ET from RANDSTAD CANADA

According to Randstad Canada's latest global Workmonitor survey, making friends at work is important to Canadian workers

TORONTO, July 26, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Findings from Randstad's latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 32 countries around the world, reveal that making friends at work is very important to Canadians and could be a key factor to workplace happiness.

According to the survey, 66 per cent of Canadian employees indicate they have close friendships with colleagues. Additionally, over half (54%) report that having pleasant colleagues is more important to them than having a good salary while 53 per cent say they spend time with colleagues outside working hours.

The results are similar around the world, as 71 per cent of global respondents say they have close friendships with colleagues and 64 percent meet up with their co-workers outside working hours. The exceptions are in Brazil (93%) and Hong Kong (91%) where a significant amount of employees indicate they have close friendships with colleagues. While in Luxembourg, only 20 per cent of employees say they have friends at work.

Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Randstad Canada reinforces the fact that workers tend to be happier at their jobs when they cultivate meaningful friendships with co-workers. "Canadians associate a good working environment with having good relationships with their colleagues. They see these relationships not as a threat to their productivity, but rather as a key factor that influences their satisfaction at work," she says.

Survey results found that only 21 per cent of Canadian employees believe friendships with colleagues interfere with their work, which is close to the global average (26%).  The portrait is very different in China (60%), Hong Kong (61%) and India (59%), where the majority of respondents are under the impression that friendships with colleagues does interfere with their performance at work.

The survey data also reveals that globally, social media is seen by employees as a way to further develop contact between colleagues. In Canada, 44 per cent of respondents indicate that they have more contact with co-workers outside work due to social media. The impact of social media on the relationship between colleagues is even stronger in countries like China, where 83 per cent of respondents say it boosts the interaction they have with colleagues outside the workplace.

According to Parker, social media and other initiatives have opened up a whole new world of social interaction. "Team-building activities, open and common spaces, along with new communication channels like Intranets and social media play a big role in fostering communication and building relationships inside and outside work. It's clear that employees in Canada and around the world are taking advantage of these tools and opportunities to foster positive relationships and create the kind of work atmosphere that they enjoy working in," she says.

Parker says workplace friendships can be a good thing for a company's overall business. "There is no denying that workplace friendships can contribute to a positive workplace culture. It means increased productivity and creativity, heightened morale, enhanced personal performance and stronger team cohesiveness," she explains. "Employers who encourage a positive and collaborative workplace will gain a competitive edge when it comes to recruting top talent."

The Randstad Workmonitor: After the successful introduction of the Workmonitor in the Netherlands in 2003 and more recently in Germany, the survey now covers 32 countries around the world, encompassing Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility regularly visible over time. The quantitative study is conducted via an online questionnaire among a population aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimal sample size is 400 interviews per country, using Survey Sampling International. Research for the second wave in 2012 was conducted from 20 April to 7 May, 2012.

For the complete set of findings, including comments on differences in opinion by generation, gender and education, visit:

About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit