coworkers in a meeting

When working a full-time job, chances are, you spend more time with your coworkers than anyone else. According to a survey from Gallup, 63 % of individuals who have a close work friend were more engaged than the 29% who said they didn’t. So, communicating with your coworkers and developing friendships isn’t a bad thing! But always remember work friendships occur in a professional environment and not outside of the workplace. There needs to be a healthy boundary which we will discuss in today’s blog!

Know Your Boundaries

Research has proven that communicating with co-workers can lead to a boost in productivity, but always within reason. It’s important to know when it’s becoming a distraction. Setting aside time during a break is best, where you aren’t missing out on work and you’re also getting the social interaction you need to keep the day going.

Aside from time management, workplace friendships should have communication topic boundaries. Being overly open about your personal life is not appropriate for a professional environment. Talking about your hobbies, interests, family, etc…is fine, providing intimate details to any topic of conversation is strongly discouraged.

Avoid Gossip

When you have someone that you feel comfortable within the workplace, you may feel more inclined to gossip. Gossip can produce trouble and hurt feelings. Steering away from any negativity or malicious conversation creates a more positive friendship and avoids later problems. It’s important to maintain a reputable and respectful persona in a professional environment. If you’re seen sitting around and gossiping, it will only impact your credibility in a negative manner.

Don’t Show Favoritism

This rule is for anyone working on a team or a higher level position. You may feel more connected to some people over others but spending more time with the employees you feel more connected to can pose a problem. Other employees may feel a decrease in morale if they see favoritism for other employees and they may even feel like they aren’t being treated as an equal. Even if you do have a close friend on your team or working for you, try to avoid any special treatment. This can cause serious issues, even leading to lawsuits or discrimination accusations! It’s important to give all co-workers and employees your time. Always remember when you’re at work, you’re there to work.

Handle Disagreements in a Professional Manner

Friendships sometimes hit rough patches. Never let a personal disagreement interfere with a professional relationship. Poor work relationships lead to a hostile work environment, which ultimately leads to a lack of drive and motivation. Resolving the disagreement professionally is the best bet to allow things to move on and not impact the workplace. No matter what happens, always remain kind and courteous.

Friendships at work can be very rewarding and may make you enjoy your job even more than you already do. But, boundaries and rules always need to be in place during work hours. If you follow these rules, you’ll have long-lasting and positive interactions with your future and current work pals!