Let's Be Friends

Once upon a time (well, it really wasn’t all THAT long ago) people carefully kept a respectable distance between their work life and their personal life. The two lives rarely mixed--except maybe for the company’s family picnic or office holiday party, when socializing with coworkers felt forced, and awkward at best (my favorite expression of “mandatory fun”).  Fast forward a generation and the “friending” of co-workers on social media happens in the click of a button, seemingly without a second thought.

Wait, what? Friends? With people at work?  If you are a Boomer or an older Gen Xer, you may have just heard the sound of a record scratching. What once was a thing people avoided has officially become a leading job satisfier that is studied and measured by the likes of LinkedIn and Gallup.

And it makes sense.  Having a friend at work creates an internal support system. Gallup observed that employees who report having a best friend at work were:

·        43% more likely to report having received praise or recognition for their work in the last seven days.

·        37% more likely to report that someone at work encourages their development.

·        35% more likely to report coworker commitment to quality.

The bottom line in all these studies is that having friendships at work make people happy. Happy people are likely to be more productive workers. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s study, one-third of millennials (as opposed to 5% of baby boomers) think that socializing with coworkers will help them move up the career ladder.   

So, go ahead and make some meaningful connections at work.  You’ll feel better for it.