If your coworkers are also people you could call your friends, then you're one of the lucky ones, because a new study shows your happiness may depend on it. The professional networking site LinkedIn conducted a study and found that developing friendships at work is crucial to almost half of all professionals’ happiness.

LinkedIn’s Relationships @Work study reveals that 46 percent of professionals with all different types of careers believe having friendships at work is important to their overall happiness. The site has over 225 million users and is the most popular professional networking platform available today, which gave the company plenty of data to work with.

The site found that work friendships are moving to a more personal level. Millennials, who make up 82 million of the United States population, are more comfortable with engaging in casual communication with their managers outside the office. In fact, 28 percent, or one in three millennials, reported that they had texted their manager outside of work hours for a non-work related issue, compared to only 10 percent of baby boomers. Baby boomers make up 77 million of the population, and are more reluctant to engage in more personal work interactions.

“I’m not suggesting we all start texting our managers at any hour about our latest crush or favorite new shirt, but it does indicate that our growing workforce wants to have more of a connection,” LinkedIn’s Director of Corporate Communications Catherine Fisher wrote on the company’s website.

Fisher provides a list of suggestions for developing healthy, normal work friendships in order to increase your happiness and interconnectedness.

3  Tips To Develop Friendships With Coworkers:

  1. Don’t limit conversations to only emails or formal meetings: At LinkedIn, workers take “walking meetings” in which they walk around as they discuss business. This relaxes those involved and opens each other up to more creative discussion. Phones and computers are also not readily available to distract from the task at hand. 
  2. Take an interest in the personal lives of your coworkers: Each day take a few minutes to engage in one-on-one meetings in order to connect on a more personal level. If you know they have a personal interest, such as running, ask them what trails they like to take and how the weather will be for their run that day. It may give you another layer to understand what motivates and drives a person in and out of the office. 
  3. Congratulate, share, and like: Paying attention to what professionals and coworkers are doing on LinkedIn by congratulating a promotion or work anniversary, you’re showing them you take an interest in their lives. It feels great to be acknowledged, especially on a public forum like LinkedIn.

 

Relationships @ Work from LinkedIn