Recession Makes Bosses, Workers More Friendly

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There is no doubt that the recession has led to increased stress in the workplace. Since the economy began to decline in late 2007, U.S. employees have been forced to work longer hours and take on more tasks with less chance of receiving additional compensation, all while watching as many of their co-workers get laid off.

Yet despite all the stress of the modern work environment, or perhaps because of it, employees and their bosses have actually improved their working relationship, according to a new survey from The Adecco Group, the world’s largest staffing company.

More than three quarters of bosses say they are now closer to their employees than they were before the recession began, and 61% of employees feel the same way.

“Employees watched many of their colleagues lose their jobs, and those that weathered the storm felt as though they’d ‘survived’ and had the support of their boss,” said David Adams, vice president of learning and development at Adecco Group.  “Combine this with the fact that many departments or teams became smaller and it’s really not a surprise that relationships improved.”

Regardless of the smiles and camaraderie within the office though, there are limits to how close bosses and employees want to be outside work.

The survey, based on interviews with 1,000 workers and bosses from various industries, found that the vast majority of employees (81%) are not friends with their bosses on Facebook or other social networks and, of those who are, one-third confessed that they would rather not be. Interestingly, the study also found that the main concern employees have is not that their bosses will see their photos online, but rather that they will be able to read their posts and status updates.

At the same time, the study notes that employees are willing to take the relationship with their boss to the next level if it could help their careers. Nearly one in five employees admitted they would have an office fling with their boss if it would help them advance in their profession. Office romance, it seems, is alive and well, despite recent claims to the contrary.

While some employees may be willing to do anything, including having an office fling, to work their way up the company ladder, most workers are not actually interested in climbing the ladder all the way to the top. The survey found that 70% of employees have no interest in taking over their boss’ job.

So let’s get this straight: Employees generally like their bosses, and some want to sleep with them, but they don’t want to be friends on Facebook and they don’t want to take over their job. The job market in 2010 looks complicated indeed.

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