Should you be friends with your co workers?

It used to be considered a bad idea to become friends with your co workers however today with the growth of social media , our personal and work lives tend to blend together more than in the past.  We often connect with co workers on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn soon after meeting and this will draw them more into our lives.

Of course being friends on social media with co workers has some drawbacks.  For example, should you post about hating your job if you have coworkers as Facebook friends?   And do you let your friend, who is also a colleague, know you weren’t really sick last Friday and went shopping instead of coming into the office?  You can hide some posts on social media so that’s a good option if you don’t want co workers to know everything going on with you.

A Gallup poll discovered people who identify having a best friend at work are  happier on the job. These people also rank high in overall job satisfaction. They tend to be more productive  and more loyal to their employer, and also get  sick less often.   The poll’s results suggest, spending time during your lunch break with colleagues  and meeting up with coworkers on the weekend can benefit you professionally as well as personally.

Here are some strategies for how to interact at work that allow you to spend quality time with coworkers while maintaining a good reputation:

  1. Take note of the office culture. Identify what attributes are valued among team members and how they communicate with one another. This will help you establish how you fit into the team and how to communicate with them.  This will give you a  a better idea of whether or not  your coworkers seem like people with whom you’d like to spend time outside of work.
  2. Avoid talking about other coworkers.  To avoid creating an awkward situation when a coworker is gossiping, you can reply with something like, “I don’t know, since I haven’t talked with her much.”

If you’re a manager or supervisor, you have a few extra things to consider.

  1. If you supervise people who are friends outside of work, make sure you never share information about other coworkers. What is workplace gossip to colleagues of an equal level is generally a violation of privacy for managers.
  2. Don’t try to cover things up. In most situations, honesty is the best policy. Tell your own supervisor if one of the employees you supervise is a friend and ask them to keep you accountable regarding fair treatment. While it’s not something you need to send a company email announcing, you  should acknowledge the friendship among your team if it comes up.

It may sometimes be  more difficult to navigate work and life when they intersect, however having friends at work can make you feel happier about going  to the office and it creates a culture of support when work gets complicated and life gets difficult.

 

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