With remote work gaining popularity due to the pandemic, some employers are worried about weakening relationships between employees. But could it be impacting friendships?
For many adults, the workplace is one of the only places to consistently meet new people. Some coworkers may become friendly, and might even go so far as to socialize together outside of the office. Many deep, meaningful friendships have started in the halls at work.
Remote work threatens to change that. If you only interact with people over an online chat or in a group conference call, there are fewer opportunities to develop relationships.
Employers fear that may lead to a lack of cohesion in work-based teams. That may be the case, but it may also lead to shallow, superficial interpersonal relationships that never have the chance to grow into something deeper.
Studies have shown that the number of people — particularly men — suffering from loneliness and depression is on the rise. If one of the few opportunities for making friends is reduced or even removed, what might that mean for this data?
Of course, this concern may be overblown. People can make real, strong connections with people they mostly interact with online. It is also true that a workplace may not be the best place to look for friendships.
What do you think? Is working remotely leading to weaker connections between people, and possibly fewer friendships? Or should that be irrelevant to making friends?