We spend so much of our time at work, some of the best friendships are created in the workplace. The most successful corporate cultures are comprised of individuals with similar goals, professional interests, and ambitions in life – so the manifestation of friendships in the workplace is inevitable.
There are many benefits associated with friendships in the workplace, as listed in the article Friends and Co-Workers from the American Psychological Association, but buyer beware, as there is a fine line between friendship and blurred boundaries leading to negative ramifications at the workplace.
The following Dos and Don’ts will help you determine the best way to create and maintain relationships at work (because they really are lots of fun and have many perks):
- Communicate directly with friends in the workplace. Just as you would offer advice outside of work, you should consider your workplace friends to be mentors with your best interests at heart.
- Set clear expectations.
- Provide practical support by sharing knowledge and data.
- Provide emotional and moral support to overcome struggles and hurdles in the workplace.
- Learn from one another. You are more likely to ask for help if you have established a relationship based on trust, which generally defines a friendship.
- Burn bridges with your friends/coworkers at work. You never know where these people may end up in the future, or if they are asked to participate in a backdoor reference check for your future dream job, so treat your friends/coworkers how you want to be treated.
- Blur boundaries at the workplace. Keep outside issues separate from the workday.
- Step on each other’s toes. Chances are, you will be drawn to coworkers with similar interests, or you could be a part of the same team. Avoid stepping on coworker’s toes by utilizing constant communication to ensure you are on the same page. It’s OK to be competitive, but it’s frowned upon to go behind someone’s back to get ahead.
- Distract your coworkers from accomplishing tasks necessary to drive results and be successful. There is a time and a place to have fun, but make sure it’s not at the expense of your coworker’s work performance.
- Always support or agree with your coworker’s opinions and ideas. At work, we need to be objective and do what’s best for the business. It’s ok to challenge each other in order to reach new heights, but refrain from using negative feedback or a condescending demeanor.
What would you add to the Do or Don’t List for friendships in the workplace?