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Should You Have Friends at Work?

The definition of "office" has changed over the past decade or so, thanks to the rise of telecommuting and virtual offices. Those of us in the non-traditional workplace do not have much 3D interaction with our colleagues. If the way we work and where we work is changing, do we still need friends "at the office"?

The definition of “office” has changed over the past decade or so, thanks to the rise of telecommuting and virtual offices. Those of us in the non-traditional workplace do not have much 3D interaction with our colleagues. If the way we work and where we work is changing, do we still need friends “at the office”?

friends

(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)

The answer is yes, and here’s why:

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1. You’ll have another reason to “show up.”

Even if you love your job, it’s hardly possible to deliver without collaboration – be it remotely or in person. If you like your team, you’ll feel more motivated to go to the office or to sit down at your desk. When you get along with your co-workers, you’ll want to collaborate, share your progress, and maybe even discuss your weekend plans.

2. You can get work done faster.

Relationships matter in life and at work. Having a good working relationship means you have more than just yourself backing your success. A friend at work can help you complete the project, offer expertise, acknowledge your work, applaud your success. Good friends also help you stay on track and offer suggestions when you’re stuck. 

3. You will feel connected to your organization’s purpose.

As Christine M. Riordan writes in HBR, “Camaraderie at work can create ‘esprit de corps,’ which includes mutual respect, sense of identity, and admiration to push for hard work and outcomes.” 

There are a great number of research studies that suggest that people with friends at work benefit from higher personal development, productivity, and a sense of achievement.

One final note: when making friends, ensure that you are doing it for the right reasons – not just to use their influence to impact your work or to get access to their expertise. That’s both insincere and detrimental to your working relationship. 

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think it’s important to have friends at work? Tell us what you think. Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Twitter. We would love to hear from you!

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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