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Get happy, make friends at work

It might seem self-evident that friends improve our mood, but a LinkedIn survey has shown that 46% of professionals worldwide think that friends at work are important to their overall happiness.

This reflects a growing sense that for 'millennials' (generally used to mean employees born since the early eighties), the social side of life is explicitly more important and central to their work life than for baby boomers (children of the post-war years). Having friends in the workplace makes us better workers, says LinkedIn's Catherine Fisher, because relationships help us feel connected, making us more motivated and productive.

'We're also seeing a shift in how personal these relationships get: 67% of millennials are likely to share personal details including salary, relationships and family issues with co-workers, compared to only about one third of baby boomers,' says Fisher.

Millennials are also comfortable casually communicating with their managers outside of the office. The study found that one in three (28%) millennials have texted a manager out of work hours on a non-work topic, against only 10% of baby boomers.

She shares some suggestions to make your millennial workforce feel connected:

  • Walking meetings: they are part of LinkedIn's culture, and they are popular because people tend to relax during a walk, which allows for a more open and creative discussion. Not having a phone or computer interrupt you every second allows you to be more focused on the person you are talking to, and ultimately more connected.
  • Take personal interest. Take a few minutes during every one-on-one meeting to connect on a personal level. If you get to know people's other passions, it may give you a glimpse into what motivates them.
  • Congratulate, share and like. It feels great to get acknowledged for your hard work, and by sharing it publicly, you also help to build your professional brand.

Fostering emotional intelligence and mindfulness is a growing field in HR across the generations. The work focuses on helping individuals, teams and organisations work more effectively by combining an understanding of psychology with coaching skills and proven management techniques.

Acas publications and services

A general appreciation of employee engagement is offered by the Acas Training session on 'The route to successful employee engagement'. Organisations can see great benefit from an increased understanding of the underlying motivations of their workforce, developing teamwork, increasing communications and ensuring that all supervisors and managers have the right tools with which to engage their teams.

For free, impartial advice on flexible working, call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100 or consult Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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