If you’re lucky, you don’t hate your co-workers. In fact, if you’re really lucky, you probably like them a lot, and maybe you even want to turn the relationships into full-on friendships (ah, scandalous!). After all, you see these people all day, every day, so it only makes sense you want to take it to the next level.
It’s normal to want friends at work—and it’s actually crucial to your career success. Because as I said, you spend most of your time on the job, so when you don’t like the people you work with, it makes getting through the day a lot harder. When you enjoy each other’s company, you’re bound to have a lot more happy (and productive) days.
But before you start making friendship bracelets, there are a few rules to getting buddy-buddy with your colleagues.
COWORKERS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS
Pros of becoming friends with your coworkers
There are various advantages you may enjoy by becoming friends with your coworkers in terms of engagement and overall job satisfaction. When considering friendships with your colleagues, it may be useful to consider these benefits. Here are some pros of becoming friends with your coworkers explained:
Being friends with your coworkers can lead to a higher sense of trust in the workplace. When you better understand your colleagues personalities, motivations and perspectives, it may be easier to have confidence in them and their work output. This is because trust is an integral part of being able to collaborate effectively with others, from here, you may be able to rely on your coworkers, feel more assured that they have your teams best interest in mind and enjoy a higher level of comfort while working alongside them. Additionally, your coworkers may begin to feel the same comfort around you.
Having friends at work may help you feel more energized throughout the day and boost your overall productivity levels. Socializing with others in a professional environment can empower you and motivate you to be more efficient while completing your day-to-day tasks. In addition, if your organizations output relies on your ability to work effectively as a part of a team, forming friendships with colleagues can make this task easier and far more enjoyable than otherwise possible. Even further, professional friendships can help you develop a sense of accountability toward others on your team, which may improve your productivity overall.
For many professionals, it can be challenging to maintain engagement and feel present at work. A lack of engagement, which can affect productivity levels and job satisfaction rates, often stems from an absence of fruitful relationships and stimulating activity as professionals complete their respective duties throughout the day. Forming friendships with your colleagues may better stimulate you throughout the day, offer a sense of value and belonging in the workplace and increase your ability to remain present. With this, being friends with your coworkers might mitigate engagement issues and allow you to feel more immersed in your work.
When teams are able to collaborate successfully, they can produce remarkable results and achieve even the highest of organizational goals. Being able to incorporate various perspectives, knowledge sets and skills into a working environment can be highly valuable. Even so, many organizations experience a lack of collaboration due to insufficient investments in team building, an absence of trust and high rates of competitiveness. Being friendly with your coworkers can provide more opportunities for collaboration and make it a less strenuous task. As friends, you and your colleagues may feel more comfortable sharing your opinions, offering expertise and working together.
Its common for the success of organizations to hinge on their employees ability to communicate competently with one another and clients alike. Even with this, though, it can be challenging to do so and some workplaces provide few opportunities for employees to practice their communication skills. Fostering friendships with your coworkers can offer a chance for you to develop your communication skills. Further, communicating regularly with your colleagues can strengthen your ability to do so effectively with one another when you truly understand an individual and how they operate on a day-to-day basis, you can better relay messages in a conversation.
Professionals who feel isolated may become overwhelmed by demands at work and find it challenging to meet expectations on a regular basis. Therefore, it can be incredibly beneficial to have a support system in your professional life. By forming friendships with colleagues, you can develop a robust system of support that you can tap into when you experience stress, need help meeting deadlines or have questions about certain components of your tasks. Coworkers who are also your friend may be more willing to offer their assistance during times of need and can offer reassurance when things get challenging.
Being able to handle the stress that may accompany your professional life is a necessity to foster success. Stress can greatly impact your mental and physical health both at work and at home. Having friends at work, or even one close colleague, who you can rely on may help you shoulder stressful parts of your role. These coworkers may serve as an outlet as you vent about your experiences, offer a level of empathy in the face of obstacles and inspire you to overcome the challenges youve encountered. This consolation can allow you to better mitigate your stress levels and persevere.
Higher quality work
Your workplace friendships may offer more trust, improved communication, enhanced collaboration and better rates of productivity. Each of these advantages can combine to help you and your colleagues produce higher-quality work on a regular basis. This is especially true in a team environment in which coworkers must depend on one another to achieve the objectives set out for them. Friendships can allow professionals to develop a higher level of responsibility toward one another. From here, you and your colleagues may make fewer errors in your work, streamline workflow processes and offer the best of your abilities more consistently than before.
How satisfied you are with your job depends on a variety of factors, like your level of compensation, the tasks you perform and the culture of your organization. Your interactions with your coworkers can contribute to how satisfied you feel at work, especially if you place a high value on having an amicable, stress-free work environment. Deep interpersonal connections can provide more positivity on a day-to-day basis and make your work feel more fulfilling. When you have a coworker who can serve as your ally and help navigate any challenges that arise, you may feel more satisfied with your professional life.
Why is it important to form healthy relationships with your coworkers?
Forming healthy relationships with your coworkers is one of the most effective methods of team building. Healthy relationships can offer a solid foundation of confidence for professionals who need to work together on a team to accomplish organizational goals. Team members who get along, cooperate as a part of a team and have respect for one another can form useful support systems that drive engagement, enhance collaboration, provide motivation and produce higher quality work. With this, developing strong relationships and a sense of trust with your coworkers may allow you to be more productive in your role overall.
There are varying types of relationships you can forge with your coworkers to achieve this type of bond. Most professionals choose to develop working relationships with certain limitations, but others also pursue closer friendships at work. Your ability to form friendships with coworkers may depend on the type of industry you work in, how many members are on your team, the organization you work for and your personal preferences. While maintaining friendships in a professional environment can be a challenging task, especially for professionals who prefer to uphold clear work-life boundaries, becoming friends with coworkers can also lead to significant benefits.
Cons of becoming friends with your coworkers
Depending on situational factors such as your work environment, industry and personal preferences, you may experience some disadvantages through forming friendships with your coworkers. Here are a few cons of becoming friends with colleagues:
Some work environments can be competitive depending on an organizations culture, industry and opportunities for advancement. In these environments, maintaining close friendships with your colleagues can be challenging. As you and your work friends vie for the same promotions, commissions and raises, you may experience more anxiety and pressure than if you werent close to your competitors. While healthy working relationships typically consist of team members who celebrate the successes of others, this isnt always possible, especially for those overtly ambitious professionals who have a competitive streak. Keeping a distance from your colleagues may allow you to avoid such experiences.
Friends in the workplace can contribute distractions that may impact you and your colleagues productivity, efficiency and ability to produce high-quality work. While some friendships among coworkers can boost engagement in workflow activities, others may impede engagement and instead interfere with a professionals ability to complete their day-to-day tasks. Activities like chatting, joking and venting can interrupt workflow periodically and make it challenging for professionals to refocus on their respective duties. Therefore, its important to instill boundaries and maintain a certain level of respect for one anothers professional needs when forming friendships at work.
Less constructive feedback
When youre friends with your coworkers, you may receive less constructive feedback from them overall. This is because friends can often find it challenging to critique one another and evaluate each others performances without bias. With this, your workplace friends may reduce your ability to identify areas of improvement, develop professionally and achieve upward progression in your career. To avoid this from occurring, it can be helpful to create a structure for feedback opportunities that lends itself to transparency. If you reassure your colleagues that you can handle receiving constructive feedback, you can still foster friendships while prioritizing professional growth.
Its important for all individuals to maintain a healthy work-life balance so they can devote enough time to both their professional and personal lives. Fostering a sense of balance can improve your mental health, focus and professional satisfaction. While workplace friendships can contribute positively to your life in many ways, they can also make it challenging to create boundaries that keep work from interfering with your personal life. For instance, if you meet with your coworker friends on the weekends, its likely youll end up discussing workplace matters at some point. Therefore, you must be clear with your work-life expectations.
Many professionals value privacy in their personal lives. Some professionals dont divulge personal details about their families, relationships or activities outside of work to avoid uncomfortable interactions. When youre friends with your coworkers, though, maintaining this level of privacy may not be possible. This is especially relevant regarding social media profiles. Its common for coworker friends to follow one another on various social media platforms. This can give both of you more access to private details about each others lives that were previously hidden. With this, you must assess how much you value privacy in the workplace when forming friendships.
Workplace friendships often result in the diminishment of inhibitions and boundaries, which can increase the possibility of unprofessional interactions occurring. In some industries, though, its vital for coworkers to maintain professionalism. For instance, in client-facing occupations, colleagues must treat one another with respect to offer clients a positive, trustworthy experience. If you work in such a capacity or if professionalism is important to you personally, you may choose to forgo friendships with your coworkers. Alternatively, if you still want to form friendships with your coworkers, you may need to be more purposeful about maintaining professionalism, especially in particular situations.
Is it OK to be friends with coworkers?
What do you call a coworker friend?