London: Want to live longer? Forget workplace enmity. Just try to be friendly with all your office colleagues, even those who don't like you, says a new study.

Researchers have found that getting along with workmates can significantly increase one's lifespan - in fact, a friendly work environment and a positive relationship with co-workers has long term health benefits, while lack of it can increases one's risk of dying by 140 percent.

For their study, the researchers at Tel Aviv University studied the health records of 820 adults who worked an average of 8.8 hours a day over 20 years.

Those who reported having low social support at work were 2.4 times more likely to die within those 20 years, a newspaper quoted lead researcher Dr Sharon Toker as saying.

On the other hand employees who believed they had the personal support of peers were more likely to live longer.     She explained: "We spend most of our waking hours at work and we don't have much time to meet our friends during weekdays. Work should be a place where people can get the emotional support they need."

During the study, 53 participants died, most of whom had negligible social connections with their fellow workers.

Dr Toker said many workplaces have lost their way when it comes to building a supportive environment for employees. To make an office more health-friendly, coffee corners should be introduced where people can congregate to sit and talk.

Informal social outings for staff, an internal social network similar to Facebook or a peer-assistance programme where employees can discuss personal problems in confidence, could all help give workers that vital emotional support, she said.

The findings have been published in the latest edition of the 'Health Psychology' journal.

(Agencies)