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Friends before co-workers: Why you should encourage office friendships

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From looking forward to work on Monday to splitting the shipping costs, Jerene Ang shares the joys of friendships in the office.

With the majority of Singaporeans (93%) working beyond eight hours daily – assuming that we all get about eight hours of sleep each night, that’s well over half our waking hours spent at work – it’s no wonder that 78% of executives have a best friend in the office.

Look around the office and you notice them – they’re the ones who spend the whole day working together and still make plans to hang out afterwards. Frankly speaking, that’s probably exactly how the rest of the office sees the Human Resources team.

While some may frown upon the idea of getting too chummy with your colleagues, there’s no arguing that close working relationships can help people stay engaged at work and put challenges into context. Here’s what I’ve experienced through my close relationship with my teammates.

Looking forward to work even on Monday mornings

Surprisingly, instead of having the dreaded Monday blues, I find myself looking forward to coming into the office on a Monday morning to find out about how my teammates spent their weekends. No matter how passionate we are about our work, at times – especially on Monday mornings or when there’s just too much to do – we just need a bit of extra motivation to get out of bed and put our work face on.

A survey by totaljobs found that 60% of employees said they look forward to work thanks to their close relationship with their office buddy. What’s more, 39% feel more productive and 30% feel more valued as a member of staff.

Feeling more engaged at work

Did you know that peers, not line managers or business managers, are the ones who play the biggest role in how engaged employees are at work?

An Oracle study titled Simply Talent found that a whopping 42% said their peers have the biggest role to play in how engaged they feel at work, well ahead of line managers (21%) and business unit managers (7%). Worryingly, only 3% of respondents said HR has the biggest positive impact on their levels of engagement.

After all, isn’t it nice to be friends with the people you spend eight hours a day with?

After all, isn’t it nice to be friends with the people you spend eight hours a day with?

 

Celebrating great times and overcoming challenges together

Of course, as colleagues who work on the same team we already celebrate wins and work hard on overcoming challenges together. But, as humans, we naturally feel happier when the people we’re friends with achieve something; and in that line, more willing to help them when they are facing tough times.

In the Human Resources team, we celebrate our wins – for example when one of us scores a big interview. At the same time, we are a pillar of support for each other during tough times, encouraging each other, and helping to come up with plan B and C when plan A falls through.

Splitting the shipping costs

While we do not condone shopping at work or delivering items to the office, sometimes there’s just no one at home to receive shopping packages. At times like this, it can be helpful to have a friend in the office who also orders from the same website to split the shipping costs with – your wallet will definitely be thankful.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that as working professionals, the office is a place to get work done.

So, while being friends with your colleagues has its benefits, be sure to not let your friendship distract you from actually doing work.

Photo / 123RF

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Jerene Ang
Senior Journalist
Human Resources Magazine Singapore
From knowing almost nothing about HR to being able to hold meaningful conversations with industry leaders, Jerene reads, writes and sources for HR stories when not spending her time sleeping or playing with her dog.

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