Friday was the last day at work for one of my coworkers who is also a very good friend of mine. As Friday approached, I found myself becoming anxious. I know that we will be friends for many years to come. I also know that we will stay in contact. However, her leaving reiterated to me the importance of having friends at work. Not just people we tolerate, but people we actually enjoy speaking to.
As I sit here and take the time to think about it, I’ve stayed at jobs longer when the environment is friendly, and I enjoy the company of the people I am around. On the other hand, I’ve left jobs when I never saw a friendly face. Yes, we don’t go to work to make friends. BUT, most would agree that you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family and friends. I’m sure anyone who is reading this may have met most of the people they call their friends by working with them. According to CNN.com, “one Gallup Poll survey noted that 38 percent of respondents said they met most of their friends at work.” I personally have met most of my closest friends at work.
According to an article on the Harvard Business Review website, “56% of the people who say they have a best friend at work are engaged, productive, and successful while only 8% of the ones who don’t are.” This sounds accurate to me. Going to work can be a miserable experience if there isn’t anyone there that you can relate to. I can certainly see how one can be more productive while working with a friend. Although there may be a tendency to chit-chat, ideas about how to improve work product and increase efficiency always flowed seamlessly with this friend. When you get along with someone, it is much easier to communicate with that person. As a result, ideas can flow freely.
I’m so grateful to have had the experience of working with this friend and I wish her the best on her new journey. Lucky for me, I still really like my job and there are other people there that I look forward to seeing and consider friends. But it raises a question, how many of you have friends at work? Do you think having a friend at work is a good idea or do you believe work and friendship should not mix? What have your experiences been when working with a friend? Have you ever had a friendship go sour because you started to work with them? Tell me your thoughts!