As an anthropologist turned user researcher, I’m fascinated by human connections at work. In a time where career dominates a significant portion of our lives, but distributed work has created physical disconnection, it’s more important than ever to have strong relationships with our colleagues.

People spend most of their time with family and friends in their younger lives. By age 35, these patterns significantly shift, with individuals spending a growing percentage of time with coworkers — even more than their own partners! The average worker spends nearly 82,000 hours, or over nine years, at work. If we’re going to spend the majority of our days with our teammates, it’s critical we form meaningful relationships with them.

Plus, we know that human connections are critical to wellbeing. The Harvard Study of Adult Development conducted the longest in-depth longitudinal study on human life — ever. The results were simple, yet deep: The key to health and happiness is good relationships. Naturally, this includes relationships at work too.

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