Having a best friend in the office, helps to be engaged, committed and involved. And to provide top performance. A nice chat, laugh, relaxing moment or talk in the coffee corner is not only pleasant. It is also very important. It increases your career opportunities 7x times.

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Having a nice chat, laugh, relaxing moment or talk in the coffee corner is important at work.

Always thought that at work you first en foremost had to… work? That your boss does not pay you to drink coffee with your friends? That talking, laughing and having a relaxing moment together is something that you should do in your own time? Then we have good news for you!

Not just you, but your boss also wins if you have friends at work, as proven by calculations by research and consulting firm Gallup. Companionship at the office helps increase employee satisfaction with 50 percent. Moreover, people who have a best friend at work are 7x more likely to be fully engaged. Engaged employees are in the perfect position to deliver top performance. Their work energizes them and they are committed to getting the best out of themselves. Obviously that benefits their career opportunities. The engaged are 18 percent more productive and 30 percent less absent. Over one third (37 percent) of the Dutch is engaged, according to a study that research agency Effectory did among over 400,000 Dutch people. The majority (63 percent) is not. These people generally perform properly, but do not have their dream job. Actually, they would want another job just as much.

Positive spiral

Work friendships bring the sort of positive emotion that the American positive emotion researcher Barbara Fredrickson calls ‘positivity resonance’. The situation that you are in each other’s physical proximity, and there is:

  • a shared positive emotion (you experience the same feeling)
  • synchronicity in your biochemistry and behavior (you look at each other and mirror each others posture), and
  • you have a mutual need to invest in each other’s well-being and to care for each other

Positivity opens your mind and helps you to get into a virtuous circle. It makes you flourish. That means more than being happy. Fredrickson: ‘Flourishing people feel good and do good. They add value to the world. People who thrive are highly engaged in their families, work and communities.”

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Friends can support each other at work. Cross their fingers for each other’s promotions, celebrate each other’s successes 
and comfort each other, as well as give advice and support in personal situations.

More so in exciting and difficult situations

Work friends are even more valuable in difficult situations. They understand and support you in exciting or difficult times. Both in business and personal life. They advise you and cross their fingers for your possible promotion. And support and comfort you when you are experiencing disappointment or sadness. These forms of solidarity contribute to your productivity. Not surprising, because such an emotional bond is one of the prerequisites of happiness and thus to flourish. Nobody is really happy when he or she stands alone. Especially not when it is not going well. If you do not have a good relationship with your colleagues, and you are in a room for 40 hours per week, with people who never ask you how you are, you can not function optimally. In fact, you burn up and extinguish.

What to do with and for friends at work:

  • Have regular coffee and lunch meetings with a colleague, not focused on business topics.
  • Organize and do activities with your colleagues to really get to know each other. Not so much as a professional, but as a person above all. What, for example, are you enthusiastic about?
  • Come up with a special way to celebrate successes that a colleague or you achieved, as a team. One that really fits you as the persons that you are, and that you will remember for a long time.
  • Finally, a surprising advice: go gossip together. That creates and strengthens friendships in the workplace, states sociologist Lea Ellwardt, who graduated on this topic in 2011. We do not mean in a negative way. Because, as says the researcher: ‘Talking about someone who is not in the room can be done about positive things as well.’ Of course we opt for the positive approach, that brings positive emotions, and ensures that you can flourish.

What do you do?

We wonder how you deal with and benefit from work friendships. Feel free to share your experiences, through a comment below. If you fill out this form, we will process your experience in the ebook that we are writing. If you prefer that, anonymously. Thanks in advance for your input!