How Work Friendships Can Create Positive Cultures

While a percentage of employees feel that it is crucial to draw a clear line between a co-working relationship and personal life because they feel that this would affect work-life balance, it is not entirely true.

It is definitely limiting to think so as research has shown that developing and nurturing close bonds among colleagues can in fact positively assist the company’s growth and culture in many different ways.

So how can a company leverage on work friendships to create a positive working environment and organizational culture?

The first few things that come to mind are probably team-building activities, celebrating team achievements and milestones, as well as company events such as luncheons, parties etc. While some might dismiss these as contrived, companies can get creative and focus less on the methods but the bottom line – fostering camaraderie.

More than just about having fun, camaraderie focuses on creating a shared sense of purpose and belonging. Employees will not only think but also feel that they are in the same boat together.

After all, each and every employee in an organization is a part of a bigger whole. Employees need to see that they are not working all by themselves, but working as a team. And that their actions, whether minute or not, actually affects or influences their co-workers.

Hence, leaders, managers and employees need to actively and sincerely invest their time and effort to foster collaboration, trust, and support. This in turns highlights the need to develop interpersonal relationships, and their bond with one and another.

In ideal scenarios where co-workers see one another as work friends instead of a mere colleague, the company only stands to benefit.

Employees will now foster camaraderie, a sense of accountability to one another, trust, and the ability to work together to achieve goals, whether individual or shared. Why? Being a friend, one would extend a helping hand to a friend in need. Instead of pushing work around, employees would be more willing to chip in, offer advice, offer help, and put their brains together to help solve a problem. As this continues, it will improve working relationships and strengthen friendships.

Not only that, work friends will encourage and support one another, which means that the possibility of co-workers pitting against one another is reduced. Instead of strife and unfriendliness in the workspace, co-workers are now more invested in their work friends’ best interests.

With different personalities in a work place, employees can encourage one another, spur a friend on, calm a friend down, help a friend relax and so forth.

Instead of negative rivalry, there would be friendly competition instead, and leaders and managers should stay involved and engaged to ensure that relationships stay on the right track and intervene when necessary should situations get too heated up.

It is inevitable that work friends can also experience tension, get into a disagreement or have a conflict. It is part and parcel of interactions and miscommunication. Hence, key personnel play a crucial role in balancing and steering the dynamics of the team.

The recognition of shared milestones and achievements would also add more positive energy to the company culture as employees will feel that not only are their efforts recognized, they are seen as a team of tight-knit work friends who survived the tough times and celebrated the good times together.

Having fun team meetings would also allow employees to enjoy meeting, interacting and catching up with their work friends. Adding the element of fun to work would create a tone that meetings can be both productive, even serious, but enjoyable at the same time. Such associations with good feelings will allow employees to feel great about themselves, their teams, and the company; over all creating a positive, pleasant and even vibrant company culture.

With such a culture, employees will feel a sense of belonging and pride. This in turn fosters loyalty to the company.

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