Something for the weekend: Have you been longing for those watercooler conversations, days out with office pals, and gossipy lunches with your office bestie to return? New research has found HR teams are most likely to be missing workplace kitchen chats as employees continue to work from home during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
The social aspect of work is least missed by those who work in IT or healthcare, it seems – but most missed by those employed in the world of architecture, engineering and building, according to research by business support platform Rovva.
The organisation surveyed 1,000 UK office workers and discovered that staff working from home in the architecture, engineering and building sector were the most likely to miss going out for lunch with workmates (46%), with HR the most likely to miss workplace kitchen chats (43%). Meanwhile sales, media and marketing folk said they missed out-of-work socialising (45%) most of all – well those chatty guys would, wouldn’t they.
Conversely, those in IT and telecoms appear to prefer their own company, with the survey showing them the least likely to have socialised with work friends during the pandemic (31%), followed by healthcare workers (28%).
But it could be that the IT crowd are just being Corona-cautious because back in the office this cohort was the most likely (72%) to say their work friends were important to their workplace happiness. Contrast that with travel and transport workers, with 53% saying their office chums were not critical to their workplace happiness.
Looking deeper into the data, sales, media and marketing staff were more likely to make work friends in the first place, with an average of nearly five friends in each case. Despite this, they’re not the most sociable industry. That accolade goes to employees in the architecture, engineering and building sector, with a staggering 92% saying they often socialise with colleagues.
Jon Abrahams, managing director of digital, Rovva, said: “We know that friendships really enhance the workplace for many people. Work lunches, activity days out, and even just a quick chat in the office kitchen can really boost our moods during the working day.”
He added: “We’re not surprised to see that people have found it more difficult to make friendships in the workplace during the pandemic. After seeing the results of our survey, we hope that more people can find the time to get to know their colleagues better, creating long-lasting friendships.”
Here at Employee Benefits, we are known to be a friendly, sociable bunch, but those virtual workplace coffee breaks just don’t cut it for us. We cannot expresso how much we are missing that office friendship vibe and the extent to which we look forward to returning to the workplace for those kitchen chats and to spend a latte time together.