Developing friendships with your colleagues and other people at your office is inevitable; however, managing such relationships with utmost care is crucial for your work life. If you have a full-time job, your workplace becomes one of the places where you spend most of your time at. And for those who do not socialise much during the after-work hours, most of the friends they have will be those they know through work.
An article titled ‘Friends and Co-Workers’ by the American Psychological Association says that research has shown that workplace friendships can do amazing things to one’s productivity levels. But one should not blur any boundaries in the process of making friends in the office to avoid conflicts in professional life.
Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure that your friendships at the workplace do not wreak havoc in your professional life now or the future.
Do not Forget about the Office Hierarchy
As more and more companies have adopted policies to create laid back environments in offices, it becomes easier to make friends with colleagues and seniors alike. Remember that no matter how great a friend your manager is, he/she is your boss at the end of the day. Be careful and ensure that you do not over-share information in such friendships especially if it may make the other person feel uncomfortable. Not just that, getting too close to your boss can also create wrong notions in your co-workers’ minds. It can make the rewards or positive appraisal look like a result of favoritism and not a result of your work.
Be Open to Working with Everyone
When you develop strong bonds of friendship at work, you may knowingly or unknowingly want to collaborate only with your ‘friends’. Make an effort to work with even those with whom you do not share any personal relationships. There is a good chance that you and the people you get along with at work think alike and working with other people can give you new and different insights.
Keep Conflicts at Bay
Just like any other relationships, friendships too are susceptible to arguments and disagreements, and not all of them have to be resolved fully immediately. Make a conscious effort to ensure that such conflicts do not seep into the professional relationship. Clear your mind of such issues before you make any decision at work to steer clear of its influence.
Develop Friendships for the Right Reasons
A lot can go wrong if you are making friends in your office for fulfilling ulterior motives. Genuine friendships are those that are based on commonality in some or the other aspect. Do not misuse the relationship to get ahead in your professional life. Apart from the fact that it is wrong in every sense, this can create a bad reputation for you and cause trust issues in the mind of your co-workers.
Some other tips for managing workplace friendships well:
- Don’t forget boundaries and over-share with anyone. Maintain confidentiality where needed no matter how good a friend the person is, in both professional and personal matters.
- If you are the boss, ensure that friendships with your team and other employees do not cloud your important work decisions like appraisals and promotions.
- Do not sulk if you feel your work friend is avoiding you for any reason. At the end of the day, you and the others are there to complete a function, and that should be the priority.
No matter how many benefits workplace friendships can bring to your work and personal life, the cons should not be taken lightly. Manage your friendship with these tips to ensure a balanced work and personal life.