Good friends are people who show us that they care. They are people who communicate with us. They are people who have realistic expectations of us. They are people who you can trust. They are people who you can call for help and rely on. So why is it frowned upon to have work friends in some corporations and businesses? I have heard people say “I am not here to make friends. I have enough friends. I am here to work and go home.” But why? What are the reasons for not being friends with anyone at work? I am sure there are many sides to this; perhaps it is because they may be worried that they will stab them in the back, destroy their work credibility, steal their ideas and present them as their own, or feel so guarded that they won’t allow anyone in … the list could go on and on.
But, glass half full: why not have work friends? I cannot imagine going to work every day and not having someone to chit-chat with on breaks, vent to when things are going wrong, and just having family at the office. In my opinion, as someone who has been in corporate life for over 18 years – the benefits of having work friends greatly outweigh the potential risks you could face with friends who may turn into enemies.
Having work friends has so many benefits: Job satisfaction improves. Job performance improves. It allows for a safe and comfortable environment. And overall your personal happiness improves. I read an article a few years back in Forbes magazine, that illustrated that people who have a friend at work are 7 times more likely to be engaged in their job. Loneliness is known to reduce motivation and productivity.
The pandemic and its aftermath have caused many companies and their employees to work remotely so it may seem tough to make friends at work. Remote options can work, too. It is still super helpful to have virtual friendships, but if you are comfortable, try to get to a coffee shop or lunch when time allows. It is easy to get lonely when working remotely, so schedule a monthly virtual happy hour so you have something to look forward to. Entice your coworkers to turn on the camera! Keep in mind, you never know when your path will cross with others again – so make some work friends!