There’s an international day of everything – we know! But this one we really like!  It’s the International Day of Friendship on Tuesday 30th July.  And on the back of recent research by, it’s now official – your work-mates are good for your health.

Fostering workplace friendships

According to, 79% of employees would like to see more done to encourage workplace friendships.  Over half the people surveyed thought their employer was not actively encouraging social activities.  Time to pull up the socks perhaps?  We think it is time well-invested.  Workplace friendships improve mood, productivity and mental wellbeing.  It also means employees will feel better supported if and when there is a time they might need to ask for some help. Having an open and friendly environment is key to a healthy workplace.

Promoting a non-toxic environment

Most of us have experienced working in a toxic environment.  It is one of the main reasons why people will leave their job – meaning losses to the company in terms of time and money spent in replacing staff.  Toxic environments in the workplace can sometimes bring you right back to your school days – there can be nasty gossip, workplace-cliques and plain old back-stabbing. This is not an environment where people feel safe and trusting.  If you feel like this is festering in your workplace, it’s time to act before all you want to do is leave.  We recently discussed at the Forsa conference how initiating a no-gossip policy can work really well.  Go by the Irish mammy-phrase – if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all!

Work spouses

On the flip-side, many people see their workplace friends as a strong reason to stay with a company.  Some of us even go as far as having a work-spouse! We’re not promoting extra-marital affairs here, but if you have one of these, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  It’s your one buddy that you spill all the weekend goss to on a Monday, you share all the workplace stresses with and always sit next to at lunch.  If you are luck enough to have one of these, why not ping this blog over to them and show them you care!

Ways to socialise

To begin, there are many more options than boozy nights out.  More young people than ever do not drink, put higher emphasis on their health and are unwilling to feel a hangover the next day (particularly if that is a work-day, that is no benefit to anyone!).  Many people are trying to balance home-life and squeeze in precious time with their kids and may be unwilling to sacrifice this for after-hours socialising. Therefore if your social plan is all about pints after work, you could be excluding people and putting out the wrong message.

It also doesn’t have to be after-hours.  If workplace wellness is a priority for your company, fostering relationships should be part of your wellness goals. There are plenty of team building events, outdoor exercise or even lunch time workshops that are interactive and fun.  It’ll get people talking and finding familiar ground with one another, which is the basis for friendships.  Incidentally this can foster new workplace connections also, from which often new ideas and collaborations arise. We love hands-on food demos where people get chatting while literally getting their hands dirty.  The summer is a great time for outdoor bootcamps – nothing like a bit of shared sweat to get the craic going. Or you if organise a summer event, just remember to focus it on food and bring some of the many non-alcoholic beverage choices we have now.  We love Captain Kombucha, King of Kefir (comes in beer-like bottles), and Seedlip non-alcoholic gin.

About the author : Aine Ryan