If you're the type of person who doesn't believe that work is for friendships, think again. Making connections with someone should be done wherever you are, but there are some specific benefits to having friends at work.
If you love your job and want to live a long life so you can enjoy it longer, friends in the office will help you do that. One source says, "strong social support from peers on the job actually helped boost longevity." This means that even though your friends are at work, they play an important part of your life.
Friends you make at work can also stay in your life long after you leave a job. Since many people have at least a couple different jobs before they settle into one they really enjoy, a job change doesn't have to mean the end of a friendship.
Increased Job Satisfaction
Let's face it, you spend a lot of time in the office, and if your work life is a negative or hostile place, it can cause anxiety and stress. Friends at work can help you deal with setbacks and disappointments, and also give you lift on those days when you're buried with no end in sight. Even if you're working at a place that isn't your ideal job, having good friends around you can help you feel as if you're not wasting your time.
A survey by the Gallup organization said that of employees who not only had friends at work, but who had a best friend there were:
- 27% more likely to report that the mission of their company makes them feel their job is important.
- 35% more likely to report coworker commitment to quality.
- 27% more likely to report that their opinions seem to count at work.
- 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
By contrast, only four percent of workers who admitted that they didn't have a good friend in the office still managed to be "content and productive at work."
Greater Sense of Purpose
What these statistics imply is that when you're in an environment where you feel emotionally safe, you'll look at the office and your job in a more positive way. When you have a good friend at work you may feel as if someone has your back, so you don't worry about things like gossip or office politics as much. You focus on doing your job, and what's more, feel that the work you are doing matters.
Another take-away from the Gallup research is that office friends help change your perception of the work environment for the better overall. Not only will you see the good in the work you do, but you'll feel as if your manager respects your opinions and appreciates your work as well. You will also look more positively at others in the office, which can lead to fewer instances of backstabbing and conflict.
Management Will View You in a More Positive Light
Managers like to work with people who get along with others. If you have a friend at work you'll not only be on good terms with that person, but you'll also interact in a more positive way with the rest of the staff. You may even urge others to get along because your own outlook will come from a more upbeat and encouraging place.
All of this will endear you to managers, who often cite interpersonal relationships between employees as a main concern of the office environment. You might be looked at more favorably for promotions and special projects simply because you can get along with a variety of people.
Friends at Work Help With Work/Life Balance
Another benefit to having a good pal at work is that you're more likely to maintain a good overall work/life balance. Your work friends will care about you and encourage you to go home on time, take your lunches (rather than always working through them at your desk), and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In other words, you'll be less likely to suffer from burnout and stress if you have a friend at work.