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Build Your Career Office Life

Understanding Co-Workers: A Love-Hate Relationship

Understanding Co-Workers: A Love-Hate Relationship
Credit: Igor Stevanovic/Shutterstock

There is a good chance you're the reason your co-workers are excited to come to work each day, new research finds.

More than half of employees say their colleagues and peers are what they love most about their jobs, found a study from TINYpulse, a feedback solution provider. And those co-workers are what helps drive employees to stay engaged and keep learning, the survey found.

The study's authors said this is why companies that are only hiring people to fill empty seats are doing their organization a disservice.

"Hiring dull, uninterested people is just going to bring your employees down," the study's authors wrote. "Finding colleagues that push each other and keep them going is one of the best things you can do to drive motivation and engagement."

The nature of the work they do each is day is the second aspect of their job employees appreciate most. The study revealed that 35 percent of those surveyed said the type of work they do each day is what really gets them going and makes them feel worthwhile. [Extrovert vs. Introvert: What Your Co-Workers Think of You ]

The other top answers employees gave for what they love most about their jobs are:

  • Freedom and autonomy to do their jobs
  • Constantly learning and being challenged
  • Strong managers and leaders
  • The product or service their organization offers
  • Positive work environment
  • Cool perks and benefits

Even though co-workers are what employees adore about their jobs, colleagues are also what drive people crazy. The study found that employees listed co-workers' lack of communication and follow-through, as well as their immaturity and complaining, as the things that hurt productivity the most.

"Just as peers are the number one thing employees love about their jobs, they can also be the thing that really brings them down," the study's authors wrote.

Other factors that hurt employee productivity and drive them crazy are:

  • Not having the tools needed to do the job
  • Lack of transparency and information to do the job
  • Constant interruptions while completing tasks
  • The physical work environment
  • Having too many meetings
  • Not having enough people for all of the work
  • Lack of flexible schedule and work-life balance

The research revealed that a number of cultural factors affect employee happiness. Specifically, work environment, organizational culture and team-building efforts all had a strong correlation to employee satisfaction.

The study's authors said the research isn't saying that compensation and benefits don't matter, because they do.

"But these stats show that interpersonal and environmental factors play a huge role in affecting employee happiness and engagement," the study's authors wrote. "An investment in culture is an investment in engagement."

Regardless of their happiness, most workers feel they aren't fulfilling their role as much as they could be, the study found. Seventy percent of workers think they aren't living up to their full potential, the research discovered.

One of the biggest reasons employees believe they aren't reaching their full potential is because of workplace distractions. Specifically, nearly 25 percent of the employees surveyed said that too often they have to scramble or put out figurative fires at work. This takes them away from being thoughtful and strategic in their approach to work, they said.

While unexpected issues are going to pop up from time to time, the employees surveyed said this is more of a norm than it should be.

"Supervisors be warned: Making employees hop from project to project is destroying their focus and not letting them meet their full job potential," the researchers wrote.

The study was based on surveys of 400,000 workers at 500 companies around the world.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.