The study, published in the Journal for Environmental and Public Health, draws on almost 1,400 international scientific reports and papers that indicate performing shared activities at work can create positive social atmospheres that help staff feel happier.
Though the activities do not have to be “big or complex”, the review found, researchers said they should occur more than once, a for example three one-hour workshops, and involve all employees.
Internal mentoring programmes, action planning and problem solving groups, training workshops and social events all were shown to have positive effects.
Nancy Hey, director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, said: “This research backs up our other evidence: people stay in, and go back to, jobs they like with people they like. We are recommending that organisations carry out activities that boost social relations at work, and evaluate their impact.”
Professor Kevin Daniels, who led the research team, added: “Good social relations between workers and between workers and management are amongst the most important factors for wellbeing at work, resilience and engagement. The research shows that, with the right intent, it can be quite straightforward to improve social relations at work.”