As we previously explored in the article:‘Blurring work-life communication – are you always on?’ it is fairly easy to understand how technology blurs the lines between our work and private lives, and how this also impacts on 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 95% of respondents to our survey in Turkey 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 phenomnenon by conducting a survey in June 2018 of 754 people in Turkey. Separating our private and professional lives is becoming increasingly complex due to the presence of connected devices, activities outside of work, and normal 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 Turkey, 70% 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 (55%), meeting after work for social gatherings (57%), events at weekends (32%) and travelling (27%).

The survey tells us that professionals enjoy travelling with colleagues. 27% of respondents go on holidays with colleagues, while this percentage is 11% for the other Mediterranean countries like Italy and Spain. Do professionals in Turkey really become friends after some time of working together? Does this have an impact on productivity?

Friendly relationships boost productivity

Answering the question, in Turkey today 91% of professionals believe that having good relationships with their colleagues in the workplace will positively affect productivity – with 82% 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 professionality.  

Companies understand this, which is why they actively encourage employees to meet outside of work for company social activities. In fact, 74% of employees’ family have met their colleagues, with 38% happening at their employers initiative (new year’s parties, summer picnics, birthday parties, etc.).

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. Only 42% of employees say that they have contact with their direct manager outside working hours.

Only 25% exchange calls or messages that are not related to work, and just 27% spend time with them in the evening on weekdays, almost three times less than with their colleagues at the same level. This fact is compounded when the statistics tell us that while 83% of respondents say they are friends with their colleagues, only 37% say they are friends with their manager.

About the study

Sample: the survey was conducted among a sample of 754 people in Turkey, 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.