The surprising way being friends with your co-workers affects your career

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

We’re not entirely sure how we’d make it through a day in the office without our work mates.

They’re always on hand to offer a cup of coffee, emergency make-up product or just an understanding ear when we have a very work-specific problem to tackle.

So we weren’t entirely surprised to read the results of a new study, which found that being friends with your co-workers can actually help to improve your performance in the office.

The study – excellently titled “Does fun promote learning?” – found that fun activities, such as socialising with our colleagues, can increase our informal learning while encouraging us to trade ideas, boosting our workplace-related knowledge.

Writing in the paper, which was published earlier this year in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, lead author Michael J. Tews at Penn State described the phenomenon as one that could help co-workers to develop closer relationships.

“When employees are afforded opportunities to socialise with one another, higher-quality relationships are more likely to develop, which can open the door for the exchange of ideas,” he said.

And Tews had some advice for employers looking to boost the learning rates of their employees.

“The key practical implication is that organisations should consider fun as a viable strategy to promote informal learning beyond traditional learning supports,” he added.

The study follows the findings of another piece of research undertaken last year, which revealed that just under half of us don’t have any close friends at work.

The research, undertaken by charity Relate, found that 42% of us don’t have a single friend at work.

But with so many other benefits being ascribed to having pals at work, such as increased productivity and overall workplace satisfaction, it could be worth putting in a little time at the water cooler or offering to get a round of drinks for your team mates.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to find the Ann Perkins to your Leslie Knope.

Images: TV stills


Share this article


Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter