Cooperation is the key to success in any business and workers who can work together can mean the difference between success or failure. By making friends with co-workers it can ease competition for the affection of the boss and help allay any suspicion that you are going to stab the other folks in the back to further your own career. Being friends does not necessarily mean going out to dinner and having family picnics in the park together, but it does mean that in the workplace, a spirit of cooperation can go a long way to show that you and your friends have the best interests in the company at heart.
There may also be times when you fall behind in your work and with friends in the office, they might be more tempted to help you through a few rough spots than if you treat them as adversaries in the workplace. They will also be more amenable to come to your defense if a project is not done exactly right.
On the flip side, you will have to repay them in kind, by covering for them while they are on vacation or they require assistance on a project in which they are involved. The hard part comes in when the friendship exceeds the boundaries of the office. If for some reason the people develop a dislike for each other while participating in an activity outside the office, it could have detrimental effect on their workplace demeanor.
While friendships between co-workers on the same level in the pecking order are generally acceptable, it is never a good idea to try to be friends with the boss. Others may see this as an attempt to cozy up to the boss and if the supervisor does become friends with an underling, it could prompt accusations of favoritism. Any one who supervises others should never begin a friendship outside of work with a person who reports directly or indirectly to them.
If a friendship develops between to people on the same rung of the corporate ladder, they should keep in mind the possibility of one being promoted to higher position and know the friendship will most likely be in trouble as a result. It can really cause a friendship to become strained if one is appointed as the other’s supervisor on a temporary basis, as there may be attempts to use the friendship to receive special considerations. Whenever one is promoted over the other, regardless of what they say, there will probably be hard feelings directed at the one with the new position.
Romantic friendships in an office rarely work out, and when they break up it can lead to uncomfortable consequences for them as well as for their co-workers. Friendships can work out in the office, provided they are maintained on a professional level.
About The Author
Dock J. Murphy is owner of Plug In Profit and writes on a variety on a variety of subjects.