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Let’s face it – whether working in the office or remotely – most of us spend the majority our waking hours interacting with our co-workers.

 

While some of these relationships are business-only, many others turn into office friendships.  These types of interactions can make the job fun and less tedious. In fact studies have confirmed that our brains reward us for connecting with others. Friendships also make us feel more comfortable and connected with others – two sensations that help build a positive work situation.

 

But as in any professional environment, there are rules that should be followed. Here are a list of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind re: office friendships:

 

Do Reach Out

 

It’s always good to go out of your way to be nice to the new member of the team. They don’t need to be your best friend, but be sure you say hi every morning, and see to it that your new colleague is on the invite list for office outings, happy hours, etc. A little  goodwill goes a long way.

 

Do: Create and Maintain Boundaries

Friendships are great but not at the expense of professionalism. It’s entirely appropriate to have different types of friendships, and it’s okay that your work friends don’t know everything about you. Maintaining appropriate boundaries prevents awkward situations in the workplace.

 

Do Participate in Work-Related Social Events

Never going to office events or co-worker happy hours sends a message that you don’t care. Suddenly, you become the person that others gossip about. You don’t have to go to every event, but simply showing up, chatting with your work friends and making the effort will create a positive perception.

 

Don’t: Create Cliques

You may become extra close to a set of co-workers, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It becomes a problem when others in your workplace feel excluded. Cliques create unnecessary conflict in the workplace and can affect performance. Assumptions and anxiety can impact how efficient a team is when there’s a perceived “in” crowd.

Don’t Trash-Talk your Boss

Trashing your boss could interfere with your workplace goals, enable someone to undermine you or even cost you your job. While some level of complaining may be a part of many jobs, don’t take it too far. The so-called friends you have at work may be trying to get you to say something that will make you look bad so they can get the promotion over you.

 

Don’t Get Too Personal

If you do need to confide in someone about a serious personal or professional issue, it might be best to talk to Human Resources. And if you need to take a mental health day to figure some things out, don’t hesitate to do so.

 

Don’t Forget your Position

Your job title will likely affect to what extent you’re able to make friends at work. Those in management or supervisory positions should be cautious about becoming closer to certain colleagues – especially direct reports. This may be interpreted as showing favoritism or bias, even if your actions are benign.

 

Inter-Connect is a free permanent, temporary and temp-to-hire placement service agency that partners with companies throughout the Illinois, Missouri and Iowa Tri-State region. As staffing experts, we partner with our job candidates to connect them with the right opportunities to meet their career goals. To learn more, contact us today.

 

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