When you’re in the workforce, a large part of your day – and your week – is spent on the job. And having friends in the workplace can help make your workday more enjoyable. When you have friends in the workplace, it gives you somebody to talk to, brainstorm ideas with, and generally helps improve your overall productivity. According to a survey in Business Wire, 70 percent of all individuals surveyed said friendships create a more supportive and friendly environment to work in, while 56 percent said it increases workplace morale.
Although some workplace friendships can transition into lifelong friendships outside of the office, other times they can backfire and cause more harm than good. When that happens, it can lead to feelings of awkwardness between those involved and have a negative impact on careers and office environments. When it comes to developing friendships in the workplace, you don’t have to avoid them. But, it is important to be a little cautious. So here are a few words of advice to help keep your workplace friendships happy and healthy.
Remember there’s work to do. You and your co-workers have tasks and duties to perform throughout the day and you have goals to meet. Make it a point to not spend your day around the office cooler gossiping about what company news you’ve heard. If you want to talk and catch up on what’s going on with your office buddies, reserve a few minutes at the beginning of your day, go to lunch together, or talk at designated break times. Just keep in mind that too much socializing throughout the day, especially when there are deadlines to meet, can cause strain and stress on your team, your job, and your friendship.
Be careful about what information you share. If you hang out with co-workers outside of work, be careful about what personal information you share, especially if you don’t want that information shared with other co-workers. Also make sure you don’t talk about other co-workers, supervisors, or the company. Depending on how well you know that person, what you say could get back to the office.
Don’t let the friendship take advantage of you. With friendships in the workplace, you might run into a situation where a friend wants some help with their daily tasks. It’s fine to help them out, but within reason. If they need help with some software, want to bounce an idea off you, need to switch lunch hours so they can leave a little early for a doctor’s appointment, these are examples of when it’s OK to help. But, if they’re wanting you to help cover up a mistake for them, wanting you to give them less constructive feedback, or slacking on their productivity and asking you to take on some of their work, these are examples of no-no’s. Being friends does not mean playing favorites at work. You have a job to do and so do they.
Friends are great to have at work. Just remember that at work, you have to keep your actions professional because you have a job to do first and foremost. Apply these tips to your job to ensure you develop quality relationships with others in the workplace without adding to workplace frustrations.