Do you really need friends at work?
I consider myself very lucky to work with my closest friend. We've worked together for 12 years now, and I feel able to do my best work because of the levels of trust, honesty and support between us.
When I look back through my career the roles in which I have been most engaged, and feel at my most productive and creative are those where I have had a trusted friend and ally in the workplace. But is it important to everyone?
Gallup data from 2022 would certainly suggest so. Their data shows the importance of a great friend at work has actually increased over the last couple of years, which is interesting, considering the change in many people's working patterns to a more hybrid/flexible model. It seems that having a "best friend" at work gives people confidence, encouragement and the resilience that they need to ride out the tough moments.
According to the Gallup research, employees with a best friend at work, are significantly more likely to:
- Engage clients and internal collaborators
- Be more efficient
- Experience fewer accidents
- Show more innovation and share more ideas
- Have fun at work
They're also twice as likely to rate their employee satisfaction as high, and are less likely to be looking for a new job.
What can we do to help people build friendships at work?
Begin by talking about work friends in a positive and encouraging way, focus on encouraging good friendships amongst the team and further afield in the organisation. There are some great tips in the Gallup review, but it's well worth starting by adding the question "do you have a best friend at work" to your next survey. How would you answer that question?