Is it a good idea to make friends with your work colleagues? This is a question that many people grapple with when starting a new job. Having friends at work can come with a handful of disadvantages, but the perks seem to far outweigh them.
Of course, when making friends at work, it is good to have boundaries and maintain professionalism. And, overall, having friends at work can be good for your career as well as your mental and emotional well-being. How so? The following benefits illustrate this point quite nicely.
21 advantages and benefits of having friends at work:
1. Early forewarnings.
If you are doing something wrong or have already made an error and trouble is coming your way, work friends will give you a heads up so that you aren’t caught off guard. Sometimes being aware of the problem before the boss steps in provides a great opportunity for you to show proactivity in rectifying the issue. This can prove good for your career.
2. Increased productivity and motivation.
Workers who are relaxed, happy, and having a good time will always do more than they absolutely need to. In fact, they will want to do more. By having friends at work, you will most likely be happy to be there, which can boost your productivity and motivation in general. Increased productivity will certainly make the “higher powers” happy.
3. Improved overall wellbeing.
Studies have revealed that being surrounded by people that make us feel good about ourselves and make us laugh is great for our sense of well-being. If you enjoy the people you work with and are actually friends with them, your overall wellbeing will be significantly improved.
4. More job satisfaction.
Consider a scenario where you have no friends at work. You arrive at work, get a pile of tasks to complete and work hard throughout the day. There’s no one keen on chatting with you about last night, no one to make plans with for after work, and no one to share your lunch and a laugh with. How do you think you are going to feel about this particular job in a few months or years’ time? Chances are that you won’t feel fulfilled.
Now change that scenario to a job where you arrive at work to hear the cheerful chatter of employees sharing their stories of the weekend over an early cup of coffee. Imagine sharing a joke with a fellow employee during the day or having someone to make light of an awkward customer situation behind the scenes. Now that sounds like a job that would be pretty satisfying to go to, doesn’t it?
5. Reduced workplace stress.
If you are suffering from workplace stress, this could lead to anxiety and even depression. What is the number one way to get rid of stress, anxiety and the “downs”? Talk about it! If you have someone to talk to about your work stresses, your problem starts to lose its intensity. If you have someone to talk to that has some form of reference and is potentially in the same boat as you, the stress can be substantially reduced.
6. Increased trust.
Trusting people you aren’t friends with is hard. Imagine working with people who you fear are after your job, want to get you fired, or make you look bad? You might find it very hard to trust people in the workplace, unless you are actually friends with them. If you make friends at work, you will be able to build a relationship of mutual trust where you have each other’s backs.
7. Lower risk of a heart attack.
Big contributing factors to heart attacks are stress and high blood pressure. If you work with people who add to the stress in your life, your chances of having a heart attack or stroke increase greatly. Having friends around you all day is a relaxed, safe space to exist in. It reduces stress, brings blood pressure down, and ultimately reduces your risk of a heart attack!
8. Increased loyalty.
When you feel comfortable and happy at work, you will naturally feel more loyal to the company as well as the team. Loyalty is vital in work setups. A team that is loyal to one another is a team that achieves great success.
9. Always-available support system.
Have you ever been at work and felt that you really could do with a supportive pep talk and a cup of coffee with someone you trust? Well, having friends at work means that you don’t need to just think about it, as there is always a supportive ear and a helping hand available as you are surrounded by people who care.
10. Increased job engagement.
If you head to your job to work on joint projects with people you really value and enjoy, you are bound to be far more engaged in the project. Engagement is seven times more likely if you are surrounded by a best friend at your workplace.
11. Overall improved mood at work.
If you like the people you spend all day with, you can expect for your mood to perk up a lot. If you aren’t too fond of or don’t really have anything in common with the people you spend all day with, chances are that the day will drag, and you won’t be in a very good mood heading to work every day.
12. Better communication.
Have you ever found that you communicate far better with friends than you do with strangers? It is probably because you have taken the time to get to know each other and so you understand the quirks that come along with friends’ various communication styles. If you’re friends with people at work, communication issues will become a thing of the past.
13. A sense of belonging.
Humans, in general, have a built-in need to belong. We need a sense of community. We need to know that we belong to a group. It makes us feel important, needed, secure, and safe. This need to belong exists at work too. If you have friends at work, you will have a definite sense of belonging in the workspace.
14. Creates a positive company image.
How you get along with your colleagues will be a direct reflection on the business. If customers pay a visit to the business and see staff members sullen and simply going through the motions, they will leave with a very poor image of the company in mind. If the staff seems happy, friendly, and appears to be working well together, that creates a very positive company image and draws new customers in (and keeps existing customers loyal).
15. Shared workload.
If you work at a company where you have no friends, you will probably wade through your piles of work alone and have little intention of picking up the slack for someone else, unless you have to. If you are all friends and enjoy working together, you will naturally want to share the load and help each other out.
16. Constructive peer feedback.
Just how constructive is criticism coming from someone you don’t really know or don’t have a friendly understanding with? Maybe not much. If you are working with friends, you will be more receptive to constructive criticism and advice from your peers. You will know that they only want to help you excel.
17. Boost in mental health.
Yup, having friends, in general, is good for mental health. It helps the brain release all of those endorphins and dopamine when you are having a good time. Having friends at work can make it easier to have a good time during most of your weekdays, and therefore, be good for your mental health.
18. Employee retention.
If you have ever started working for a company and just felt like you don’t fit in, there’s a high probability that you started making plans to move on early on in your contract. Employee retention is something that is of vital importance to business owners. If you love your job and are friends with the people you work with, you won’t want to look for another job. Job retention success!
19. Work better under pressure.
For many of us, feeling the pressure while working with friends is probably far easier to handle than feeling the pressure around people who have no emotional or social investment in you as a person.
20. Make better work-related decisions.
If you are at work, surrounded by people you aren’t particularly close to, and you are on the verge of making an emotional or anger charged mistake, you will probably commit “career suicide”. If you are surrounded by friends, they will talk to you about it and ensure that you calm down before making poor decisions. When surrounded by friends, your work decisions will become more positive ones.
21. De-stress and remain calm in stressful situations.
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Starting to lose your tempter? If there’s a friend in the office, you can expect (and rely on) this person to help you maintain a cool head and de-stress. That’s what friends are for. Such a situation without a friend nearby is a very bleak scenario, indeed.
As you can see, having friends at work can create a completely different work experience for you. Make friends with these positives in mind, but make sure that you apply practical boundaries to ensure that things remain friendly, but still professional. Enjoy!