Friendships are a wonderful thing to have in our lives. They enrich experiences and they make sure that we are feeling as happy as we can be. Most of our friendships are made outside of work, in our personal lives, but we also make friends with those people that we spend a large chunk of our time with, our work colleagues.
For a business, the idea of employees being friends can be concerning, however, what you might not realise is that there are both pros and cons to having workplace friendships in place.
Let’s learn more about whether or not workplace friendships equal more profit for your business.
Work friendships can ensure that your employees trust one another
When you are friends with someone then there is going to be a real bond between the two of you. This bond is usually built on a foundation of mutual trust. Trusting someone, particularly someone who you work with, well that is always going to help you to work well together. You will respect one another, you will want to push the other one forward as best that you can.
In the workplace, this means that those colleagues who are also friends will want to make sure that they work the best that they can together. They will want to be as productive as possible and whilst their focus is probably on one another and making sure that they get ahead, this is always good news for your business.
Work friendships can help to form a strong company culture
There is probably nothing as strong out there than a team of people together. However, building a team that is bonded can be tricky. Especially in the workplace where so many different personalities have all come together within the company.
A sense of company culture, of being part of one big team isn’t always the easiest thing to orchestrate in the workplace. However, if you do manage it, then all of your employees are going to feel just like they are part of something bigger. This will drive your company forward and will create a real sense of company culture too.
There can be drawbacks too
Whilst there are benefits to having a company whereby there are plenty of workplace friendships, there can also be drawbacks to this. One big negative is that cliques can start to form, which means that you are going to need to make sure you encourage colleagues to interact with each other on a regular basis.
This is particularly important if they are not colleagues who don’t usually take the time to speak to one another or to interact on a regular basis.
When the friendship is between a manager and an employee, then you can also find that other staff members may think that there is favouritism between them. Not exactly the type of thing that you are going to want when you are trying to create a harmonised workplace.
How to set ground rules for workplace friendships
When you have workplace friendships one thing that you might want to do is try and set some ground rules for them. Of course, you don’t want to set any conditions against a budding friendship, but it is a good idea to ensure that your employees have a good understanding of what is expected of them.
Encourage workplace interactions between all colleagues
As a manager, it is down to you to ensure that you encourage your employees to work together, whether they are friends or not. Whilst it is great to see employees with a bond come together to get some tasks completed, you need to ensure that any workplace teams also include those who are not part of the “clique”.
Stop the gossip
The other thing that you need to try and stop when it comes to workplace friendship is gossip. It is natural for those outsides of the friendship to see it in a negative light, however, this is definitely something that you need to focus on. You need to stop other employees from gossiping about the people who are friends and equally you need to ensure that those who are friends are not seen to be gossiping when they may actually just be catching up or talking about work. Or that when they are indeed gossiping then this behaviour is discouraged.
If you want to encourage working relationships and friendships within your business, then you are going to need to work on communication between your employees. One great way to do this is to offer an employee mobile app that they can then use to communicate. These can be used throughout the day so employees can message each other when it’s appropriate to discuss work-related matters.
Of course, workplace friendships do have their drawbacks, but they have plenty of positives too. As a manager, the challenge will be establishing the right balance for a positive workplace culture, where friendships are built upon.