You have friends at school that are your study buddies, you have friends from your childhood that feel like home, you have friends at college that you do everything with, but what about your work friendships? They deserve recognition too! Humans have an innate need to belong and to be accepted by others, and the need to be accepted by your co-workers is no exception. Work besties can make your workdays brighter and help curate an environment that is comfortable and happy.
In a 2021 study done by OfficeVibe, 70% of employees say that having work friends is the most vital element of a happy work environment, and 74% of women and 58% of men would refuse a higher-paying job if there were no workplace friends. Workplace friendships give you someone to talk to, but the benefits of maintaining one goes deeper than just having a gossip buddy.
The formation of work friendships stems from shared experiences.
After food and shelter, the need to belong or have friendships is a fundamental human necessity. However, when you’re working all day or 40 hours a week, the social settings where you can fulfill this psychological need is limited, so you satisfy it through your co-workers.
Dr. Jaclyn Gulotta, a licensed mental health counselor and psychologist, tells Her Campus, “Having a best friend at work means you have a person who understands what you deal with on a day-to-day basis. The psychology behind this includes having someone who can validate your daily emotions and needs, giving you a sense of belongingness, and providing a feeling of safety and security in the work environment.”
Whether you’re struggling with endless tasks or navigating an awkward work situation, workplace besties get you because they have been there and are operating in the same environment as you. These shared experiences allow for friendships to form. Laura Sgro, a licensed psychotherapist, tells Her Campus, “When we spend a lot of our time around the same group of people, it’s easier to form relationships with them. We feel like we know them well because of the intimacy that comes from spending extended time with the same people in a repetitive environment. Work is an environment that often comes with a lot of stress or frustration, so it’s natural to seek camaraderie with those who might understand the feelings you have around work.”
Work friendships can positively affect your mental well-being while at work.
Long hours, heavy workloads, or disagreements with co-workers can make the workplace a stressful environment. It is easy to lose excitement or not be happy while at work, but workplace friendships increase the mental well-being and decrease stress that might be caused by work.
Friendships by themselves can boost your happiness, improve self-confidence, help you cope with life’s problems, and encourage you to develop healthy habits. Now, when you develop friendships in the workplace, these benefits are directly related to your work. In a 2021 Workplace Friendship and Happiness survey done by Wildgoose, 57% of employees from 1,052 companies said that workplace friends make work more enjoyable and 21% said workplace friends helped them through both personal and workplace issues. This companionship increases your happiness and decreases loneliness which, ultimately, fosters a work environment that is less daunting and dreadful.
When work piles up and becomes stressful, you may be prone to burnout. Burnout is beyond just feeling tired — it’s the emotional and physical toll on your body caused by the constant stress of work, which can lead you to feel unappreciated and lack motivation. Burnout is extremely common in most modern jobs: In a 2021 Indeed survey, out of 1,500 workers, 52% experienced burnout. Fortunately, workplace besties can curb these numbers. According to Business News Daily, individuals who have friends at work are less likely to experience burnout than those without workplace friendships. Not only will your mind thank you, but so will your bosses. Friendships can help you get your work done without costing your mental health.
Work friendships curate a productive work environment.
Workplace besties not only help your mental health, but also increase productivity at work. Those who have a workplace friend are more likely to put in more effort. Research done by Gallup found that workplace friendships cause employees to be seven times more likely to be engaged at work, producing higher-quality results.
The increase in motivation and productivity due to having a supportive workplace can cause an increase in job satisfaction as well. Workplace friendships create an environment that promotes loyalty and trust. According to the National Business Research Institute, employee satisfaction increases by 50% when a worker develops a friendship in the workplace. Workplace friendships encourage social interaction which leads to an environment that is uplifting, collaborative, and supportive. Though the Great Resignation is in full effect, workplace friendships may convince employees to stay at their jobs because they feel connected and supported.
Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on sometimes, whether that is in school, life, or work. Workplace besties make the workweeks more bearable and the work more enjoyable. After all, who else would you spill the workplace gossip to? In all seriousness, workplace friends lend a helping hand, someone to confide in, and a reason to show up to work every day with a smile on your face.