Let’s face it, when it comes to how chummy you should be with your coworkers, there’s some controversy.
Popular workplace sitcoms, like “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “30 Rock,” theatrically demonstrate the pros and cons of workplace friendships. Cons: It can increase unnecessary drama in the workplace, such as Michael Scott prying into his staff’s love life way too much. Pros: It can lead to life-long friendships, which is demonstrated in…basically every series finale.
And, while the age-old phrase of “I’m not here to make friends” is still used in real life, (I have recently heard it!), there are many reasons why having friends at the workplace IS BENEFICIAL – and not just for your personal life, but for your professional life as well.
So, whether you’re a solopreneur, working-from-home, or work amongst others, let’s explore why having a supportive, engaging community at the workplace is an absolute MUST.
6 Reasons Having Friends at Work is Important
Prevents Feeling Isolated or Lonely
Has anyone else heard that story of the successful business owner who went from hating their corporate 9-5 to being their own boss and loving it because now they work on the beach and don’t have to deal with co-workers?
Yeah, us, too. And while that lifestyle DOES sound really fun from a far, it does beg the question, “Doesn’t that get lonely?”
We have previously talked about loneliness being an epidemic even before the Covid-19 pandemic and the ways entrepreneurs and freelancers can defeat loneliness.
In this previous blog post, we wrote, “Studies have shown that CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and remote-workers continue to experience higher levels of loneliness, anxiety, stress, and depression than those who work in traditional offices. Many of those feelings come from carrying the weight of making every decision and making them alone. Beyond that, the majority of those individuals admit that the feelings come from the isolation of working from home without coworkers and not having a sense of community around them.”
Whether you WFH or not, completely focusing on work without any positive social interactions can be down-right isolating and lonely. Remember, we’re social creatures and need social interaction. The key is having a supportive, motivating, engaging community to keep feeling connected, uplifted, and grounded.
2. Ease of Communication
You’ve seen the saying, “Communication is key,” right? It’s true! With healthy communication, we can move mountains! With unhealthy communication, progress can be a bit rough.
It goes without saying that it is much easier to communicate with others once you have gotten to know them and the same goes with coworkers. Being on the same page can be so much easier when you have a healthy rapport with those you work with. Whether it is communicating about moving forward with a project or settling a disagreement, communication can come much more naturally if you already know the person.
Plus, if you are already friendly with someone, it usually is fun to communicate with them on the next step of the project anyways! Perhaps you’ll get a fun story about their hilarious dog or a good recipe suggestion out of it, too!
3. Provides More Ways to Learn and Grow – Personally and Professionally
Absolutely! Let’s be real, none of us are perfect. Period. We all have room for improvement. And one of the great things about working well with others is learning how to grow from them.
Professionally, working with others is a great way to learn new skills and to make relationships that could lead to future opportunities.
Personally, I can’t even count the number of times that a friendly conversation with a coworker has led to a new favorite dinner recipe, a change of heart about a family dispute, or insight into an amazing, must-read book.
Even in areas where there is sometimes conflict at work, a shift in perspective of asking, “How can I grow from this situation? What is this teaching me?” is truly helping us move forward, rather than staying stagnant.
4. Enhances Overall Happiness
Raise of hands, who has ever dreaded going to a job because of workplace drama or feeling unseen/undervalued? On the flip side, who has been excited about going to work because they get along with their coworkers and know it’s going to be a great day?!
Having people at work that you relate to is an important part of feeling happy at your workplace.
“70% of employees say that having friends at work is the most crucial element to a happy working life.” (Source.) Absolutely! Working well with your teammates and knowing that you have each other’s backs is a great way to increase happiness while at work.
5. Increase Productivity
Speaking of overall happiness, did you know that an increase in happiness at work DOES increase productivity? Yes!
Studies have shown that having friends at work can increase a higher commitment to creating quality work by 35% and that “office friendships have a direct link with engagement and productivity.” (Source.)
So not only does having work friends keep people happy, it also benefits the overall business by increasing worker productivity.
All of these things add up to…
6. Overall Increase in Job Satisfaction
When people feel connected to their coworkers, they feel more connected to their work. People that have positive relationships with their co-workers are 1.2x more likely to “say that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.” (Source).
The more people feel connected and satisfied by their job, the less resistance there is in moving projects and goals forward. All of this can lead to employee retention and less turn-over. Never underestimate the power of team spirit!
But, what if I don’t have co-workers?
Are you an entrepreneur or do you work from home? Do you feel like you are missing out on the benefits of having a community at work? No worries, we have a solution for you.
Joining a Coworking Space and making friends there can help you grow (professionally and personally), increase productivity for your business, and can overall make you feel less isolated and more happy!
How does a coworking space membership (either virtual or in-person) benefit me?
Community, community, support, and community.
Having accountability buddies to help meet your goals.
People to brainstorm with, learn from, and be inspired by.
Virtual workshops that keep you in a state of expansion or growth.
Having like-minded entrepreneurs to bond with can decrease feelings of isolation.
You will gain connection, support, and interaction with other members.
Click here to learn more about how Haven Collective can bring community and joy back into your work life!
By: April Warner
Sources: The Muse, Positive Psychology, Benenden Health, Entrepeneur.com