Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Benefits (and Risks)
of Friendships at Work
Most employees working in a non-virtual environment spend a great deal of time with their co-workers and are likely to develop friendships over time. While friendships in the workplace can increase job satisfaction and make going to work more fun there are also other benefits. Co-workers that become friends can provide rich feedback on work-related matters and encourage you to do better; providing that extra push to further yourself at work.1

However, not all researchers/authors have agreed that workplace friendships are beneficial. If your workplace friendship is beyond casual where you are also friends outside of the workplace this can cause potential problems. Spending time together outside of work enables you to see another side of your friend’s personality and vice versa. Some friends may become more accustomed to the “outside of work personality” and lose professional courtesy when engaging with one another at work. Another potential risk is if a personal friendship is tainted outside of the workplace. A fight or disagreement could potentially lead to poor communication and a lack of productivity. 2

What to do? I think the benefits outweigh the risks. Having a source of support and encouragement at work is healthy. However, I do believe that a balance of professionalism and friendship is needed. One suggestion is to leave strong friendships outside of work and keep to more casual friendships with your co-workers.


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