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Blending work-life relationships – where do you draw the line?
It is easy to understand how technology blurs the lines between our work and private lives, and how this also affects our happiness levels.
What is less easy to see is how the blending of professional and private social circles can also affect our happiness. And with 238 respondents to our survey in Austria saying that positive relationships at work are important to them, this subject is not going anywhere soon.
The importance of relationships at work (and outside the office)
Michael Page, part of PageGroup decided to investigate the work-life balance phenomenon by conducting a survey in June 2018 of professionals based in Austria. Separating our private and professional lives is becoming increasingly complex due to the presence of connected devices, activities outside of work, and voluntarily out-of-office socialising. The introduction of Millennials and Generation Y have also changed the equilibrium of the workforce, with their differing expectations of what a workplace should offer.
In 21st century Austria, three quarter of employees have contact with their colleagues outside of office hours. This could mean sending messages or calling each other about topics that are not related to work (53%), meeting after work for social gatherings (57%), events at weekends (18%), or even going on holidays with colleagues (9%).
Friendly relationships boost productivity
In Austria today, 97% of people believe that having good relationships with their colleagues in the workplace will positively affect productivity – with 92% agreeing that the same is true for the relationship with their manager.
Employee well-being and fulfilment are the real drivers of performance. When employees get to know and understand their colleagues, this creates trust – and a bond that positively influences their professionalism.
Companies understand this, which is why they actively encourage employees to meet outside of work for company social activities. In fact, 53% of employees’ family have met their colleagues, with 41% happening at their employers' initiative such as at Christmas parties, summer picnics and birthday parties.
Employees closer to direct colleagues than managers
As the old saying goes, there is no constant in business but change. The current effects of technology and the gradual flattening of the management pyramid are seeing businesses undergoing a revolution of sorts. To improve delivery, teams are being empowered to build broader skillsets and work more closely together.
That said, an amount of distance remains deeply rooted in the relationships between managers and their employees, and vice versa. 55% of employees say that they have contact with their direct manager outside working hours.
Nearly a quarter exchanges calls or messages that are not related to work and another 23% spend time with them in after work activities, two times less than with their colleagues at the same level. This fact is compounded when the statistics tell us that while 60% of respondents say they are friends with their colleagues, only 20% say they are friends with their manager.
About the study
Sample: the survey was conducted among a sample of 238 people in Austria, including unemployed people, employees, and managers.
Methodology: the representativeness of the sample assured by an adjustment of the data (gender, occupation of the interviewee, proportion of people in a job).
Collection method: the interviews consisted of self-administered questionnaires completed online from June 2018.