It has always been said not to mix business with pleasure, but having friends at work can actually improve your work experience. Employee engagement in the workplace is on the decline. More and more people, especially women, are stressed out at work. Having someone to chat with while you work or to take lunch with can help to relieve this stress and will allow you to vent. Research shows that strong connections with people at work can boost productivity and make someone more passionate about their job and less likely to quit.
Christine M. Riorden who is a professor at the University of Kentucky says that this type of camaraderie at work can help a person feel more loyal to their job. A 2012 Gallop Report showed that 50% of employees that had a best friend at work said that they felt a deeper connection to their company as compared to 10% without a best friend.
In many cases however people see being friends with co-workers as something that should be kept off the table and away from their professional lives. According to the 2013 State of Friendship report, more than one third of the people studied met their closest friend at their workplace. This is great not only for the company because their employees are happier and less stressed, but it is good for the employee as well. They may not hate their jobs as much and may be far more productive than if they didn’t have that social connection.
Jim Meyerle, co-founder of Evolv, says that many employers do not realize the impact that social communities in the workplace have. They don’t understand that healthy friendships at work increase engagement and productivity and make for a better workplace overall.