We all know people who aren’t the least bit interested in having friends at work. You know the ones. The “I have a life outside of work; I don’t need/want to make friends here” camp. To an extent, I get that. Especially if you work with folks you would never dream of knowing, let alone hanging out with, if you didn’t have to see them at work. There are also workplaces that frown on and discourage employees establishing friendships for various reasons which typically boil down to fear and lack of trust.
However, I am of the mindset that we spend so much of our time at work – one might even say TOO much- that making a deliberate effort not to build friendships there seems counterproductive. Of course, I don’t believe in forcing relationships either. If a connection isn’t there, it isn’t there. But if there’s the potential, why not let it happen?
As it turns out, there are also some great data-driven reasons (HR folks love metrics) for establishing friendships at work – see below. Perhaps the final statement is the most important – Office friendships have a direct link with engagement and productivity. Who wouldn’t want to be more engaged and productive at work? Who wouldn’t want their employees to be more engaged and productive at work? Seems like a no-brainer to me.