With many of us spending the bulk of our waking hours at work, it's important we spend those hours with people we like. In fact, it may be crucial to the company's success.

According to a recent survey conducted by communications software company Unify, establishing personal connections with your co-workers can improve productivity in the workplace, no matter whether you telecommute or go to an office every day.

If you take time to chat with your colleagues about a favorite TV show or your weekend plans, it could actually help you focus once you get down to business. Seventy-one percent of people on effective teams have conversations that aren't work related on a daily or weekly basis, while 38 percent of those employees on "less successful teams" rarely engage their co-workers on a personal level, if ever. 

Related: 6 Ways to Get the Best From Your Team

Having honest conversations is important, too. Eighty-four percent of those on successful teams feel just as comfortable raising their differences remotely as they do when they are face-to-face. That kind of open communication makes them 80 percent more likely to pitch new ideas. Teams who aren't as frank with one another tend to have a harder time negotiating conflicts virtually and 59 percent of those members are less likely to contribute a new idea when they aren't working together in person.

For teams with members that work in different locations, cooperation is especially key. Eighty-four percent of less successful teams reported that more than a fourth of their meetings had one person taking the lead with little collaboration. Meanwhile 77 percent of successful teams said that less than one fourth of their meetings were merely one-way streets.       

For more information about staying connected during the work day and the effect distance can have on teamwork, check out the infographic below. And for suggestions about how to improve virtual productivity take a look at Unify's full survey.

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6 Qualities of Highly Successful Teams

 

Related: Make Your Team Smarter, Happier and More Productive Without Spending a Dime