A 2017 well-being study demonstrates a connection between workplace friendships and productivity. The productivity increase is broad, and includes customer engagement and loyalty to the organisation. Although the findings apply to both genders, it is pronounced among women.
Some organisations seem still to have a residual attitude that work friendships promote distraction and cliques. However, the considerable evidence points to significant benefits. In group tasks, workplace friends outperform acquaintances and strangers because of greater desire to support and cooperate. A summary of findings in a University of Pennsylvania and University of Minnesota study shows that “friends were more committed at the start of a project, showed better communication while doing the activity and offered team mates positive encouragement every step of the way. They also evaluated ideas more critically, and gave one another feedback when they were off course.”
Further, a number of studies have demonstrated that underperformance can be a corollary of loneliness.