We spend most of our days at work, so it seems like an obvious suggestion to become friends (or at least be friendly) with your coworkers. But is that really necessary? And is it really the best way to go?
We asked a few of our friends and readers what they thought; read their responses below!
I’ve always been the type of person who dislikes mixing business with pleasure as it were. The boundaries between church and state (for lack of a better term) should be respected at all times. However, in my relatively short professional life, I’ve had the pleasure (some might say otherwise), of working in companies with pretty young staff age ratio. This has of course brought with it the inevitable bonding over various things such pop culture, management bashing (don’t quote me on that) and naturally, gossip. It has at times been a relief to have people to have light moments with. But as with everything, you need to know who you can trust and with what. Some colleagues have become some of my closest friends and others, well let’s just say it’s best that we stick to discussions that warrant a payslip.
Prudence, Communications firm
You don’t necessarily HAVE to be friends with your co-workers. It obviously helps that you have a cordial relationship with them as you are going to spending a lot of time with them, and this would definitely enhance the working environment, but there must be a connection with your coworkers, where you guys share common ground, are able to connect both in and out of the office setting. It could be an issue when you have to demand deliverables and you can’t be as hard on them as you would if you had no affiliation, especially with a supervisor – subordinate relationship. But even with those, it takes a true leader to be able to toe the line between ensuring that work gets done no matter who it is, and having fun later.
Kwame, Communications firm
Should you be friends with your coworkers? – Nope, not if it doesn’t come naturally/you don’t want to.
Should you be friendly with your coworkers? – Yes, absolutely!
In my experience, especially if you work in a small office, you absolutely have to be friendly with your co-workers. For one, you spend a considerable amount of time with them every day and you definitely have to interact during the 8+ hour period you’re forced to be together. So while I’m not saying you should be besties with everyone, being friendly always helps. It lightens the mood in the office and it’s good for your mental health to work with people you can share a laugh or joke with- plus you just never know when you need that file to meet that deadline. It doesn’t even involve much – a hi, how are you doing every once in a while never hurt anyone. Sure makes those bathroom run-ins considerably less awkward!
That being said being over-friendly can also backfire. You don’t want your coworkers slacking off on deliverables, just because you can have a good laugh with them. Not everyday friendly. Be stern when you need to be to get what you need to get done, done.
Nana Aba, Marketing & PR