The sense of belongingness is one of the essential needs for human survival, after food, shelter, and safety. Having friends at work fulfils this need precisely. Workplace friendships can increase productivity and boost morale.
A good acquaintance at work will make you go to an office with a happy face and mind. Friends at work satiate our psychological requirements that are often essential to display our best productivity levels.
On the other hand, like every other friendship, workplace friendships do have their downsides. Why should you make friends at work? What science says about having friends at work? How good are workplace friendships? Let us understand them in detail as we move ahead.
The necessity of workplace friendships
No prizes for guessing – professionals spend more time at the office than at home. The interaction with colleagues and peers is often high compared to that with family members.
An average person spends 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. It explains how your job can impact your overall well-being and other facets of your life. Hence, when you cannot make friends at work, just the thought of going to work can be so testing.
Organizational psychologists indicate that having friends at work enhances employee happiness quotient and improves their life outcomes.
Role of employers in promoting workplace friendships
At the first glimpse, it may seem like employers carry a notion that friends at work might cause a waste of work hours.
But do you know that one of the tricky interview questions is – “Do you have a best friend at work?” The question aims at understanding how good you are at mingling with people and your social levels.
The answer might vary from person to person, but it shows that employers prefer candidates who can make friends at the workplace.
In fact, it is also one of the crucial employee engagement questions that HR teams should ask when handling a demotivated employee. But why so?
Ever wondered why offices have ping pong tables, yoga sessions, and coffee zones? Besides helping employees to take a break, they also promote workplace friendships.
Such recreation areas help break the ice with employees who often like to stay silent and aloof. Employers to recognize the necessity of employees having friends at work.
Organizations conduct team outings, special gatherings, lunch and dinner meets to promote a healthy friendship among workers.
Workers with friends at the workplace tend to be more loyal and trustworthy to the organization. As a result, the company can enjoy a better brand reputation and display an empathetic work culture.
And what else, workers with supportive friends are shown to make lesser errors in the work. Thus, healthy workplace friendships can be a win-win for both companies and employees too.
“Having a friend at work will make you hate your job less.”
Benefits of workplace friendships
Good workplace acquaintances that turn into friendships can bring in many benefits.
You will have a support
Family members do not understand what you go through at the workplace daily. Though they might be supportive at their best levels, a friend at work who witnesses the stress you go through can make a huge difference.
Suggestions and guidance of friends at work can be life saviours in many instances where we seem like standing at the crossroads of personal and professional life.
You will feel motivated
Sticking to the cubicle and not mingling with others may hamper your productivity and health. Friends at work can add a dose of fun that is quintessential to refresh before you head out for the next work deadline.
You will become a team player
A team that has good relations amongst its members can achieve more. By befriending your teammates, you will never see your workday as another routine day. Instead, you will want to lend a helping hand to accomplish team goals. Not to forget that – happier teams are an essential component to make a brand desirable.
You will stay prepared
Good friends at work guide you to deal with challenging situations. Conversations between friends at work can often show solutions to many nagging work situations.
Such discussions and inputs from friends will help you to prepare for the big moments. Be it to meet the new clients or face the boss, you are already prepared!
You will enjoy more job satisfaction
When you have friends at work, your sense of belongingness towards the organization multiplies. Studies find that people with friends at work can align 27% better towards the organizational goals.
They bring in better productivity to the table by learning new skills and brainstorming. All these contribute to their enjoying better job satisfaction.
Your stress levels come down
The short walks, coffee breaks, and the fun time at the play zones indirectly pump in the required happy hormones that destress you from within.
Having a confidante at work enables you to share everything freely and alleviates the burden from within. This helps in improving your stress levels and mental health.
Not surprisingly, employees with friends at work have better heart health than those who prefer to stay aloof or too formal without making any friends at work.
“You will never face Monday morning blues if you have good friends at workplace.”
Downsides of workplace friendships
Making friends at work is a tricky aspect. There are potential downsides when you pick the wrong persons as friends or if the workplace friendship goes haywire.
A team with good friends can be productive. But when one of the friends got a promotion and becomes the leader, the continuation of the same healthy rapport with expected output levels can be a big question.
Also, some professionals agree that sharing personal details might make them look incompetent as professionals. This notion is strong in Americans. Experts find that rarely do they make friends at the workplace or go on family outings with their colleagues.
Cultural backgrounds and personal beliefs can often dictate workplace friendships. As with any kind of friendship, friends at work can be a mixed blessing. The prime need behind workplace friendship is a trustable social connection. As long as the outcome is assured, workplace friendships help increase our productivity and health.
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