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Best Friend at Work

Do you have a best friend at work? And if you’re the boss, do you think most of your employees would be able to name a co-worker they consider a best friend?

Surveys carried out in the US show the following findings:

  1. 84% of respondents said a job can’t truly be good unless they have great co-workers.
  2. 67% said they have at least one co-worker who they consider a close friend.
  3. Those who said having close friends at work are more than twice as likely to also say they look forward to going to work than colleagues who don’t.
  4. 41 % said they’d left a job because they didn’t like the culture.
  5. 36 % said they’d take a pay cut for a more ideal workplace culture. wrote in January 2018 that their research had repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees spend in their job. When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business — actions they may not otherwise even consider if they would not have strong relationships with their co-workers.

Yale University professors Emma Seppälä and Marissa King wrote in Harvard Business Review in August 2017: “People who have a best friend at work are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job. What’s more, employees who report having friends at work have higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who do not.”

It is interesting to look at item no. 5 above about what would prompt employees to take a pay cut: a workplace that better approaches their ideal, which seems to include more friendships.

Fostering a culture where employees truly feel like they are working in a culture among friends, might get the kind of loyalty money cannot buy.

Organizations should be focusing on how they can build a culture of friendship and inclusion. It is not about forcing employees to be friends. Rather, it’s to create a culture where friendships can naturally develop.

Here are three ideas for fostering and supporting friendships within organisations:

  1. Promote open communication;
  2. Encourage people to get to know one another;
  3. Support social activities.

What about you? Do you have a good friend at work? Do you think that your employer fosters friendship?

I have always had good friends at work and I would fit in all the results of the surveys above. I still have great friends who used to be my colleagues before. I believe they can really support and help you in difficult moments, not only at work but also in your private life.

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16 thoughts on “Best Friend at Work

  1. Having a friend—or friends—make getting out of bed to go to work a worthwhile experience. That, and a paycheck, of course, but friends are worth more than money.

  2. I think work friendships are a great thing. Personally I have long-standing and thriving friendships from previous jobs that span over years. Currently I have several friendships, even one close one… and it definitely makes my job more enjoyable

    1. I fully agree, I also have longstanding and absolutely good friends from previous jobs. And even though we don’t see each other very often because I moved to another city, I know that they will be there for me, if I would need them. And they also know that I will be there for them.

  3. I just resigned from my job and it wasn’t because of the money! The work culture was incredible toxic. If anything the money kept me there longer than perhaps I should have been. As a pilot I’m always flying with new people. It’s good and bad. The major downside is not building deeper relationships. I will have to think about that as I go about searching for my next job. Thanks for sharing Cristiana 🙏

    1. I can see your point AP2. I think that having a friend or more than one at work really helps you especially when the work culture is toxic. I resigned not from one but two jobs because of a toxic working culture. The money and the contracts were definitely better than what I have today but I wouldn’t survive to top level management culture there. However, I was advised to wait a minimum of two years to make a legal case. Two years are a huge amount of time when you don’t feel well at work and without good friends I would have fallen seriously I’ll. Well done David, it takes a lot of courage to leave some privileges that a good pay offers, but I think that well-being, also mental, shall come first.

      1. Thank you Cristiana. I appreciate the support! Wasn’t an easy decision but I believe the right one. 🙏

  4. I particularly appreciate what you said about culture in the workplace. In the 17 years in the school community I work in, we’re getting more in alignment with the positive shift that your article sites. It is interesting to see how some of the old guard perceives these changes as negative and are fearful of the changes But in order to heal, you have to get sick of being sick- in the sense that the toxicity is not without its medicated attachments. Thank you for sharing crisbiecoach.

  5. I’ve been blessed with managers I get along with extremely well, which has been a godsend in a toxic, low-morale environment. It’s important because we must work very closely, so a poor relationship would be costly.

  6. For 3 years, I worked for an HR tech company, and as much as we sold workplace culture, we walked the walk as well. Although it was my first job out of college, I had 11 internships throughout college, some of which had incredibly toxic workplaces cultures. Putting in a majority of your day into work is draining if it’s not something you’re proud of. The 3 parts of having a fulfilling job consist of loving what you do, who you do it for, and who you do it with. I am quite fortunate to have found very close friends in my work, whom I still communicate with after having recently left to pursue my master’s degree. Thanks for this interesting topic!

  7. Thank you, Cristiana, for sharing this wonderful post. Yes, I think that having a friendly workplace environment can make a tremendous difference. I can share from personal experience: I actually took a job as a paramedic at $5.00 less pay an hour to work with co-workers who brought a high degree of excellence to their work. Also, work as a paramedic involves spending long hours with one team mate in particular. I was fortunate to spend my last several years working with one of the best.

    I’ll be looking forward to your next post! Thank you, team member!

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