3 Benefits of Having Friends at Work

Wendy Loewen

Do you have friends at work?

The majority of working adults between ages twenty-five and fifty-four answer this question with a no, and yet having a friend in the workplace may hold the key to an uplifting, fulfilling, and genuinely more enjoyable work experience.

The average adult spends forty hours, give or take, at work each week. This is a lot of time in any environment, let alone one without a friend to support and encourage us. Between a nine-to-five job and eight hours of sleep each night, many of us spend more waking hours in the workplace than in our own home.

Given the amount of time in close proximity to colleagues, it is surprising that more people do not focus on creating friendly ties between themselves and their coworkers. I personally am thankful that my workplace is full of individuals I call my friends. The joy of showing up to a workplace where I am greeted by smiling faces and amicable conversation is undeniable, and it is a core piece of a more engaging, productive and agreeable workplace.

1. Increased Team Spirit

One of the largest benefits of having a friend in the workplace is feeling like we are part of a team. A team is a group of people who care about us, who we care about, and who will look out for each other in good times as well as the times of pressure and stress that are a part of every workplace.

Think of the energy experienced by the players of a sports team in the heat of a game. This same kind of momentum is experienced when workplaces are filled with people who like each other, are pulling in the same direction and are willing to sacrifice for each other. Aren’t quite sure your project will meet workplace expectations? Rather than stress and worry about it on your own, you have advice and encouragement from a team of workplace friends to support you.

2. Increased Workplace Motivation

Friends in the workplace report higher rates of productivity and better decision making when working together than when working with acquaintances, or in isolation. One of the biggest reasons is because we simply like spending time with our friends. We are naturally willing to spend more time and effort on a task if we are alongside someone whom we enjoy working with and whose appraisal of our work matters. We are more interested and committed to the projects where we work together with people we like.

In workplaces where friendships exist, we find people who want to contribute their best efforts to support not only the organization, but also the people who are a part of it. We find these workplaces more humane, responsive and engaging.  A friend or two at work might just be the difference between a hard day’s work made easier and a stressful work shift ruining your mood.

3. Increased Personal Satisfaction

We spend the majority of our workweek doing simply that, working. We all know that it is not so easy to separate our experience of work from our home life. When we are happy at work, we tend to be happier at home. It is not just that home life affects work life; the opposite is also true. We have all had the uncomfortable experience of coming home to a loved one, or being that person, who is grumpy and irritable after a stressful day of work.

While there is no way to completely remove stress or the possibility of a tough day from the workweek, having a friend to lean on for some added support can only make things more manageable. Whether it is a smile or a few helpful words of advice from a coworker, small moments of companionship and personal connection increase happiness while making us feel more at ease.

We have long since left behind our primal existence of a hunter-gatherer society and moved to the slightly less dynamic, and much safer, nine-to-five work week. But regardless of the changes in daily life, a vital part of human existence has been and always will be the bond of kinship between individuals. With the large amount of time everyone spends at their work, we know it is beneficial to have a friend in the workplace. From the increase in workplace effectiveness to the personal benefits of happiness, having a workplace friend is a much more beneficial and enjoyable way to work.

You can look forward to our next blog post on finding friends in the workplace.

Wendy Loewen
Trainer, ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership & Workplace Performance

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