Remote Work Reduces Toxic Behaviors But Employees No Longer Value Work Friendships

Capterra research reveals remote work has significantly altered workplace dynamics: 70% of HR leaders say the move to remote work has resulted in fewer complaints of toxic behavior, but a majority of remote workers now say work friendships aren't important.

ARLINGTON, Va.--()--A socially-centered workplace is no longer a top priority for most employees, but this shift might lead to healthier work environments. In Capterra’s Culture Survey of almost 1,000 employees, only 11% ranked relationships with co-workers a top factor in job satisfaction. However, the culture change was reported as positive by many respondents. Over a third (38%) of employees reported less toxic workplace behavior since transitioning to hybrid or remote work.

Remote Workers Are Severing Social Ties at Work

The transition to remote work has drastically shifted how employees interact with each other. A majority (52%) of remote employees said that it is minimally or not at all important to have friends or other close social relationships at work. Remote employees are also fatigued by virtual events; those who’ve attended a virtual social event at work are twice as likely as on-site employees to say they aren’t a good substitute for in-person events.

This social disconnect has only increased due to record turnover stemming from The Great Resignation; 63% of employees who reported above-average turnover find it less worthwhile for them to socialize with and get to know their co-workers.

“Our findings are a dramatic shift from even 10 years ago when employers were keen on building culture-centered workplaces to bring employees together,” says Brian Westfall, principal HR analyst at Capterra. “Employees simply aren’t interested in hanging out with their co-workers anymore.”

Employers need to realign their messaging and strategy with employee’s new values. Nearly two-thirds of employees (66%) say that the budget used by their employer for social events would be better spent elsewhere. Instead of relationships, compensation and work-life balance were significant factors in job satisfaction.

Remote Work Is Making Culture Less Toxic

Despite the growing disconnect between co-workers, the transition to work from home has yielded some positive culture benefits. The survey found a 47% decrease in the number of HR leaders rating their organization's culture as somewhat or extremely toxic following the transition to hybrid or remote work (32% before transition vs. 17% after transition). HR leaders report that the toxic behaviors most reduced by a shift to a remote or hybrid environment are sexism/sexual harassment, bullying, and nepotism.

Employees also find reporting toxic behavior less intimidating when working remotely. Twice as many remote/hybrid employees said that the transition to remote or hybrid work has made them feel more comfortable reporting toxic work behaviors to HR than less comfortable (26% vs 13%).

“The research presents an opportunity for organizations to bolster their hybrid/remote setup with multiple avenues for employees to report toxic behavior and realign their messaging and their strategy with what employees actually want in 2022,” says Westfall.

Businesses should consider investing in monitoring tools to help reduce toxic work behavior in their organization. A majority (92%) of surveyed HR leaders who use monitoring tools report reduced toxic work behavior in their organization.

To research tools and read more resources that your business needs to foster a healthy work environment, visit

Capterra is the leading online resource for business software buyers, offering access to free, capacity-building tools, independent and objective insights and up-to-date, validated reviews across all software categories. Only Capterra has over 20+ years of global experience helping people find appropriate software for their organizations. For more information, visit


Madison Martini

Release Summary

70% of HR leaders say remote work has resulted in fewer complaints of toxic behavior, but remote workers now say work friendships aren't important.


Madison Martini