To celebrate Valentine’s Day 2019, we’re bringing you a very special post – all about the benefits of making friends at work.

We asked our lovely Head Office team to weigh in on their thoughts about being friends with their colleagues – and boy did they deliver!

Here’s some reasons why we think it’s so important to be friends with your colleagues… and some thoughts from our own colleagues too!

They help facilitate great work

Getting to know your colleagues also means you all have a better grasp on each others’ strengths and weaknesses, meaning you can all be more effective. A team who are friends tend to work much better than one having to deal with internal politics and spats!

Cross-departmental friendships can help facilitate more efficient work between departments too – sometimes even uncovering previously unknown talents – meaning the benefits are felt across the wider business.

“I’m really grateful for the friendship between my team members. There’s actually quite a nice atmosphere within all the teams but with Skills and Training being quite a bit smaller and much newer, our team relationship is a lot more tight. They’ve been really welcoming to me, they’ve been genuine and kind when I’ve needed help, and as a whole, we do our best to build each other up. Plus they make me laugh a lot, which is helpful on the days when things aren’t going so well.” – Sascha, Recruitment Consultant

They understand your work struggles as well as you do

We’ve all gone home with a bee in our bonnets at some point – and unfortunately our friends, families and partners aren’t always the best people to vent to. They don’t know why Sharon in accounts has got up your nose – they don’t understand your office hierarchy and politics – they might not even really have a grasp on what you do all day at work (bless them). Your colleagues though? They had a similar run in with Sharon last week; they’re just as frustrated with the office politics as you; and they probably have a pretty good idea of what you do all day. A drink or two and a rant down the pub with your colleagues can go a long way to get your frustrations out and cool you off: ready for a calm and collected weekend.

Having someone who truly understands just why you’re mad about work can not only help you calm down, but help you justify when something is more than a mild frustration. A trusted colleague can be great as a sounding board to help you evaluate when to keep quiet – and when to take action!

“True friendship at work can be a tenuous thing. From experience you only really know if a work friend is a real friend when one of you leaves your job! I keep in touch with a fair few former colleague/friends and we generally make an effort to see each other a few times a year, stay in touch on Whatsapp or keep tabs on each other’s main life events on social – but I would definitely say they are my friends.

Why? Because unlike your non-work friends, your work friends know a different you – often they have seen you at your best and worst  – and likely have been there through some tough situations that only someone you work with can really understand.

Unlike your partner, family or social friends – work friends ACTUALLY know what you do at work, know what you’re good at and know when it’s time ‘to chat’.

If you think you’ve found a work friend – keep them close. A person you can trust, vent to and sound something off can make your time at work easier… and dare I say: FUN!” – Jo, Head of Marketing

They don’t just shape your work life – they shape your personal life too

Most of us work from our teens to our retirement – and in that time we change a lot! Not only do we grow and mature as a person, but we go through huge life events like getting married, having children, buying houses, losing people we love, passing qualifications, overcoming personal challenges; and often, your work colleagues are there to support and congratulate you throughout.

Whether they’re mentoring you to improve on a weakness, or just being a shoulder to cry on when you’re going through a tough time; the friends you make at work affect much more than just your job performance.

“I started at Protocol when I was 18 years old and I have ‘grown-up’ and been shaped into who I am today by those I work with! Stef, Lisa, Laura and Amanda – and too many others to name – have been through my entire 20’s with me… and trust me, they have helped me through more than they’ll ever know! And I am sure I have helped them too. Coming to work is great, but coming to work when you have genuine friends here is bloody amazing.” – Chloe, Recruitment Manager

The banter is undeniably good

What would a working day be without a bit of banter? Every office has it’s in-jokes – and it’s memorable characters – and having a bit of banter can not only make the day more fun, but it can cheer you up when you’re finding it tough. Especially if your role requires you to be formal or serious most of the time; a few bouts of banter to let off steam throughout the day can go a long way to making your job easier to deal with.

“This one time I sent Joe over a candidate’s CV … he smiled and said ‘well done’. That remains the best moment of our friendship.” – Harry, Recruitment Consultant

They help to foster a great company culture

A company culture is built on one thing – people. You can buy all the pool tables and pinball machines in the world, but at the end of the day, your staff are what build and shape your culture. And it’s well known that a great company culture will help efficiency, productivity and staff retention – with of course, the added benefit of your staff being generally happier. 

Not everyone can be friends at work, but you don’t have to be in a friendship to feel the benefit of it in the office. We’ve all seen people forming genuine friendships and gotten those warm fuzzy feelings inside!

“One of my favourite things about making friends at work is that your workplace likely brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, skillsets and specialisms into one giant, ragtag family. In my working life, I’ve met and made friends with some amazing people I’d never have spoken to otherwise – and because everyone is at a different stage in their life, they all have something different to teach you.

There’s work mums and dads, work wives and husbands, work sons and daughters and brothers and sisters, work BFFs, harmless flirts, and probably even someone clever you go to every time you have a technical query (bless them and their patience). There are people who look out for you, sing your praises, defend you, cheer you up when you’re down, teach you new skills, ask for your input, make you a great cuppa, offer you snacks, and always have a spare paracetamol in their top drawer.

Because you see your work colleagues every day, they do end up feeling like an extended family – often you see them more than your real family! It might sound a bit daft to say so, but the sense of togetherness and knowing I’m going to see people I genuinely care about is one of the things that brings me to work every day.” – Alli, Marketing Co-ordinator

You can make friends for life

Once in a while, someone comes along at work who you truly connect with – someone on your level, who you might even like enough to see outside of work hours. Who knew?

We have busy lives – work, home, family commitments, exercise, hobbies, errands – and for a lot of us, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for making friends. Work is one of the only places where we regularly get the chance to meet new people in a neutral environment.

“I started with Protocol in June 2004; in the August I was given a temporary member of staff to help me recruit through our busy start of the academic year period. Since then, she has left and returned 3 times to the company in different roles – and we have always stayed friends! Along the way we have taken little trips to New York, spent 3 weeks travelling in California, had kids play days, and lots of spa trips later she is one of my most trusted friends.” – Heidi, People & Performance Manager

What do you think the benefits are of friendships at work? Tweet us and let us know your thoughts!

This article was written and curated by Alessandra Metcalf, Marketing Co-ordinator at Protocol.

Need to hire quickly?

No time to talk right now? Upload a job now and we’ll do the rest!

Send a job now

or talk to us for advice on 0115 911 1100.

Find your next job in education, skills and training

Search by job role and location, for example, “maths lecturer”