Making friends at work is very important to Canadians and could be a key factor to workplace happiness, according to Randstad's latest Global Workmonitor.
Two-thirds of employees indicated they have close friendships with colleagues and 53 per cent said they spend time with colleagues outside working hours.
More than one-half (54 per cent) said having pleasant colleagues is more important to them than having a good salary, found the survey of at least 400 employees in each of 32 countries.
The results are similar around the world, as 71 per cent of global respondents said they have close friendships with colleagues and 64 per cent meet up with their co-workers outside working hours. The exceptions are in Brazil (93 per cent) and Hong Kong (91 per cent) where a significant amount of employees indicated they have close friendships with colleagues.
However, in Luxembourg, only 20 per cent of employees said they have friends at work.
"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," said Stacy Parker, executive vice-president of marketing at Randstad Canada.
Only 21 per cent of Canadian employees believe friendships with colleagues interfere with their work, which is close to the global average (26 per cent). The portrait is very different in China (60 per cent), Hong Kong (61 per cent) and India (59 per cent), where many respondents feel friendships with colleagues interfere with their performance at work, found the survey.
Workplace friendships can be a good thing for a company's overall business, said Parker.
"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 said. "Employers who encourage a positive and collaborative workplace will gain a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting top talent."
Globally, social media is seen by employees as a way to further develop contact between colleagues. In Canada, 44 per cent of respondents indicated 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 such as China, found Randstad, where 83 per cent of respondents said it boosts the interaction they have with colleagues outside the workplace.
"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,” said Parker. “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.”