Stop skipping after-work drinks: Scientists say getting along with your colleagues is good for your health

Grace Rahman
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Office interactions are good for your health, apparently (Source: Getty)

Time to stop skipping that post-work pub trip on “health” grounds: a huge new study has shown getting along with colleagues makes us feel better and prevents burnout.

Psychologists found workers strongly identifying with their workmates had a positive impact on mental health and performance.

The study found the same health benefit when employees strongly identified with the organisation they were working for.

They found the benefits were particularly prominent when both factors were at play - when strong identification with a workplace is shared among employees.

Scientists from Chinese, Australian and German institutions reviewed 58 studies, which involved 19,000 people across the world. They found the effect in play across a variety of professions.

“These results show that both performance and health are enhanced to the extent that workplaces provide people with a sense of 'we' and 'us’,” said lead researcher, Dr Niklas Steffens of the University of Queensland.

Researchers said the health benefits may come from the support network that social relationships provide and purpose derived from being part of group that shares ideals.

So should bosses offer more team retreats? Mental health charity Mind estimates 70m mental health sick days were taken in 2013, so it might be worth arranging some team-building days.

“We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organisation provide us with a sense of belonging and community -- when it gives us a sense of 'we-ness’” said Dr Steffens.

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