In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers, 62 percent claim being friends with coworkers outside the office affects productivity in a positive way.

Group of office workers gathered around one workstation
Christopher Robbins, ThinkStock

But in the same survey from Accountemps, a Robert Half company, CFOs have a very different opinion. Just 39 percent believe these friendships affect work productivity positively. Sixteen percent say the bond has a negative effect.

Ryan Gatto, a regional vice president for Robert Half in Saddle Brook, says the workers' responses carry more weight, and their research finds friendships among workers are good for business.

"When employees have strong work relationships, they tend to be happier, and have built-in support systems and a sounding board when they need it," Gatto told New Jersey 101.5.

A separate survey from the staffing agency found that workers who feel they have good friends on the job are 1.6 times more likely to be happy at work than those who do not.

"Managers who help cultivate work relationships among staff reap the benefits of a stronger corporate culture and increased employee engagement, productivity and retention," said Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps, in a news release.

The agency said employees can foster friendships in the workplace by participating in team-building activities and social events, or offering assistance to a colleague on a task that can help establish future connections. Managers, the agency said, can promote friendships by making sure they don't play favorites, and creating opportunities for employees to bond in and out of the office.

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