Isolation fears

Are we experiencing the death of the office friendship?

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Thanks to the pandemic, more people are working from home than ever – but although some are thriving in this new lifestyle, loving being able to wear pyjamas to work and save on travel costs, others are finding themselves lonely and isolated.

A recent poll by Gazprom Marketing & Trading found that 21% of respondents thought working from home had affected their mental health, with 41% saying that not being able to socialise with colleagues is what they missed most.

“Work is the number one place where people make friends,” Shasta Nelson, author of The Business of Friendship: Making the Most of Our Relationships Where We Spend Most of Our Time, told the BBC. Gossiping over the water cooler, drinks after work, bonding over a shared loathing of that ghastly boss – for decades, these have been the ways that lasting friendships have been forged.

According to a 2021 survey by events and employee engagement specialists Wildgoose, 22% of employees believe they’re equally or more productive when working alongside friends, with 21% claiming it makes them more creative. Their survey also discovered that people place a higher value on happiness than salary – and having a good friend at work makes it much more enjoyable.

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