Friendship on the Job is a Good ThingThough reading an article about Tom Rath's 2006 book, Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without did not make me want to run out and buy the book, it did encourage me to air one of my pet ideas, namely that making friends among work colleagues is an entirely acceptable thing to do. The contrary view that on-the-job relationships should be at arm's length has never seemed reasonable to me.
The Gallup organization, where Rath heads Workplace and Leadership Consulting, has compiled evidence indicating that friends at work are not only acceptable, but they are, in fact, beneficial to all concerned. You can read Gallup's own summary of Rath' book here. Key findings, from my point of view:
- "Although most companies don't encourage, and some outright forbid, close relationships between workers, Gallup [finds] that [having] close friendships at work boosts employee satisfaction by almost 50%."
- "Spending time with your boss was rated as the least pleasurable time of the day. However, when employees do have close friendships with their boss, they are more than twice as likely to be satisfied with their jobs."
- "You are three times as likely to have a close-knit workgroup if [the] physical environment makes it easy to socialize. Unfortunately, only one-third of the people [Gallup] studied report working in such an environment."