New research: Over half of Australians not friends with colleagues


New research from Orange Sky reveals that over half (55%) of Australians aren’t friends with their colleagues, with one in five (19%) keen to get to know their peers more on a personal level.

As organisations strive to create a positive work environment where employees can thrive and feel comfortable, thinking outside the box to achieve these goals is more important than ever. There’s good news for businesses who are keen to facilitate positive interactions within the workplace, with research showing that three-quarters (77%) of employees who participate in team-building activities feel more connected to their colleagues.

The Sudsy Challenge by Orange Sky runs in September with the aim of raising much-needed funds for people experiencing homelessness. Participants are encouraged to ‘keep their kit on’ for three consecutive days and spark conversations with those around them, forming relationships beyond the essential interactions of the daily grind. Not only does this strengthen bonds and understanding between colleagues, but it’s also an innovative way to boost morale in the workplace.

Lucas Patchett, Co-Founder and CEO of Orange Sky, said through taking part in unique team bonding experiences, colleagues can learn a lot about each other, while also making positive and meaningful change.

“Team challenges like The Sudsy Challenge are an incredibly beneficial way to encourage Aussies to build connections and start conversations. They encourage people to step outside their comfort zone and talk with those around them who they might not normally interact with – like work colleagues. Orange Sky has 2,500+ volunteers connecting out on shift every week, so we know just how important those meaningful conversations are to strengthen that sense of community.

“Our research shows that employees want to get to know their colleagues, but they may not know how to start these types of conversations. The good thing is that there are so many different ways to build connections, and The Sudsy Challenge provides a simple platform to make this happen,” Patchett said.

A sense of community and social support are important for the mental health of employees working from home, as well as those who have returned to the office or are working within a hybrid setting. As more workplaces are open to flexibility than ever before, the connection has never been so important.

In fact, team building exercises have been shown to improve communication, enhance collaboration and problem solving, increase employee engagement, reduce stress and burnout all while strengthening trust and teamwork.

People & Engagement Manager at Orange Sky, Jo Senz, says “team building and employee engagement strategies don’t have to be awkward ice breakers and can instead be engaging activities that help us rethink the way we interact with our colleagues, as well as boost overall inclusivity in the workplace.”

“Individuals aren’t just looking for career progression and a good pay cheque when applying for jobs these days – they are looking for an exciting company culture, supportive managers and room for building friendships. Through creative interactions led by management, employers are doing their part in creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for their employees,” Senz added.

Patchett continues, “This is our fifth year running the event, and with an amazing 71 workplaces having taken part in the challenge last year and a total of 459 registrations, our goal for this year is to recruit 80 workplace teams with 500 registrations. This is a great opportunity for staff to get involved in something different while forging lasting and genuine bonds with their colleagues”.

Orange Sky is encouraging businesses across Australia to get involved in The 2023 Sudsy Challenge (1-30 September) as their next team-building activity to raise awareness and funds for people doing it tough – all while getting to know their peers on a deeper level.

By signing up to The Sudsy Challenge, workplaces will get to connect with their team members over the common goal of making a difference to their community and spark meaningful and genuine conversations in the process. For more information visit


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