3 May 2019

Friends VS Colleagues:

Should you befriend your co-workers, or should you build a relationship with them that is limited to being colleagues? Millennials are constantly accused of blurring the lines of the workplace that were established by Baby Boomers and GenXers, but which generation is right?

Boomers and GenXers, who, better at keeping a degree of separation between their personal and work life, make a very good case for keeping colleagues at arm’s length and maintaining a level of professionalism with them outside of work:
Critiquing a friend can be tough. It is difficult to be objective when you are working with someone you consider close – you don’t want to risk your friendship by not backing that person in a company wide meeting, but you also don’t want to limit your progression at work by backing a bad idea, just because of who it came from.

You may overlook any problems that arise, or make excuses for your friend, where you wouldn’t for anybody else you work with. A lack of integrity will make it difficult for your colleagues to respect you. Favouritism has no place in the workplace.

Everything becomes work related – your work/life balance will be challenged (see our article here

This said, Millennials would argue that whilst it is important to be mindful of the above points, we spend so much time at work that friendships form naturally.

Many choose to work in a culture where friendship is the basis for interaction, with more and more young people selecting their place of work based on team, not job role and more shared working spaces choosing to provide the facilities to create social working environments – with ping pong tables, meditation rooms and communal dining areas proving great atmospheres to foster work friendships.

Whilst it is important to recognise that a different attitude is required within the confines of work, Millennials are proving that cultivating genuine relationships at work is possible – and can often result in a more productive and happier environment.

So, what are the facts?

A Relationships at Work study by LinkedInfound that 46% of work professionals worldwide believe that work friends are important to their overall happiness.

A recent study from the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, whilst unhappy employees proved 10% less productive.

It therefore seems that Millennials may be onto something, and that building work friendships can not only enhance your 9-5 existence, but also add something great to your personal life.

The science shows that work friendships are beneficial not only to the individual, but also to employers, as the State of the American Workplace Report produced by Gallup found that friendships increase employee satisfaction by 50%, lowering potential turnover.

Ultimately, it is up to you to define your work relationships, what works for you and just how close you want to be with your colleagues.

Proper Office offers plenty of communal spaces whether it’s in the excellent dining areas, the magic room, the picturesque rooftop garden or even around the ping pong table –  there’s something for everyone.

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