It’s all about the love on Valentine’s Day. Massive amounts of flowers, candy, and cards are given out, to the tune of $19.6 billion (that’s $143 per person) spent by US consumers alone according to the National Retail Federation. The sounds of happy people sharing their heartfelt sentiments around the office are well underway. Even single people get in on the festivities with ‘Galentine’ parties for bachelorettes, indulging in some extra spending on all the holiday sales, meeting new people on dating apps, and hanging out at home watching the latest in the ’50 Shades” movie saga.
But what really makes the human resource lady smile is the fact that even with all these distractions and a propensity for most people to care about me, myself, and I; one study shows that humanity is not lost on pure selfish love. That’s right. Co-workers actually LIKE each other. And what’s more, they do so more than they like other aspects of their jobs!
A study released by Comparably of tens of thousands of employees indicates that people tend to stay at their jobs for the primary reason of “comfort and familiarity”. Further, 36% of respondents said they feel most loyal to their coworkers. 60% of women and 56% men say they are likely to have a close friend at work. With people spending a large chunk of every week at work, it’s not surprising that they feel connected to their colleagues on more than just a professional level.
Interestingly, the above study also revealed that 34-35% of men and women had dated someone at work at some point in their careers. There are many workplaces that still discourage this behavior, however with the rise of startups and young generations using the workplace as a meeting hub, it’s not exactly surprising. I remember when I worked in the software industry full-time that it was a common occurrence for co-workers to hang out together after hours. In fact, it was encouraged a lot of the time, particularly with the younger crowd. It’s like a family unit in some companies, with millennials and Get Z connecting as friends and workers, some pairing off into romantic relationships or forging new partnerships with new ideas for side-gigs.
Consider the opposite scenario for a moment. What if people did not get along very well or even take the time to get to know each other at work? There are still companies that operate this way, putting too much competition into the job so that people ostracize, rather than have kindness in their hearts. People get what they want and step all over others to get there. This is not the way business should be run.
There is plenty of room for everyone to succeed and find happiness at work. It’s what has become so important to many organizations that are trying to boost employee engagement and make the experience a more positive one for working people. If individuals are going to have any chance at creating an effective team, they need to find others who share their values, work styles, and life goals.
Encouraging people to connect through team-building activities can be a great way to start this process. One that helped bring a formerly disjointed team together was a DISC personality assessment. Each person took the test, learned more about himself. Then we all shared the results in a group meeting to learn more about each other. It was eye-opening and a lot of fun.
Think about your own team. Are there people who always seem to get along well with others? Are there some close friendships growing? Are there people experiencing conflict? Take the time to connect people on a common ground so they can learn to like and respect each other more. Happiness pays off, even if it’s not true love.