relationshipsApril

A large portion of our life is spent at work, yet research shows that more and more people today are becoming isolated at work. While buddying up in the office can be tricky, if handled well, work friendships can be both personally and professionally rewarding leading to greater productivity and even job satisfaction. Read on to find how office friendships can add value to your life.

Certainly, no man is an island. Human beings are wired to connect with people in order to fully give meaning to their lives.  Many people spend a lot of time in the office; at least eight hours a minimum of five days a week. So it is inevitable to form relationships with those we work closely with, though not all relationships with colleagues will be on the same level. Some of your co-workers might become your close friends, while others, just acquaintances.

Whatever criteria you use to determine who remains in your close circle of friends and who stays on the periphery, it is important to first take time to learn people. Watch how they relate to others, who are friendly or volatile and who is trustworthy. Learn their character by observing how they handle conflicts before making them your friend.

Office friendships enable people to share meaningful milestones in each other’s lives such as birthdays, marriage or even childbirth. At the same time, a friendship at work can become a powerful mentorship and network tool that can help in your career growth. Senior-level managers, for instance, are a great resource. Colleagues in the same or different ranks can also learn from each other and have a positive workplace relationship.

The power of a good friendship at work is often underestimated, yet it can be very effective at keeping people motivated. Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, along with several leading researchers, conducted several experiments and analysed more than eight million interviews from The Gallup Organization’s worldwide database. The discoveries made led to the production of Vital Friends, a book that challenges long-held assumptions people have about their relationships. One of the team’s landmark discoveries was that people who have a best friend at work are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job than those who don’t!

Workplaces offer an opportunity for shared experiences, difficulties and pressures, which bring people together. Friendships with colleagues can bring joy to even the dullest or most stressful jobs. And to build success even at work, you need to work closely with others. Be genuine and don’t take advantage of people just because they are your friends.

It is wise to know that friendships can fall apart and make it very difficult for people who have fallen out to work together. Therefore, friendships at work need to be handled with caution. Set clear boundaries and strive to remain professional and respectful. For instance, be very clear that you will not extend special favours or cover up other peoples’ mistakes just because they are your friends, and that you don’t expect it in return. Don’t eat into the company time by chatting on personal issues; leave that to lunch breaks and after office hours. Focus on using your friendship to boost your morale and productivity at work as well as enhance the idea of support, teamwork and fun by fostering a friendly work environment.

Creating office friendships and maintaining a professional relationship is important for any office staff. It is the responsibility of both the management and employees to create strong relationships with one another; after all, a team that plays together stays together.

April2015