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Benefits of building friendships in the workplace

March 28, 2013

BEYOND the traditional themes of productivity and efficiency often associated with the workplace, more people are beginning to see that job satisfaction is also derived from workplace relationships.

In fact, experts in human resource management acknowledge the psychological benefits enjoyed by those who build meaningful friendships with their co-workers (“A buddy at work can do wonders”; Monday).

Indeed, there is much to benefit from developing enduring friendships in the workplace.

Colleagues who are willing to lend a helping hand or a listening ear can help to alleviate the negativity in stressful work situations.

By caring and sharing the way friends do, co-workers accrue a sense of camaraderie that is crucial to the building of team spirit. They may even play the roles of adviser or mentor, leaving a positive influence on one another’s personal and work development.

Friends ask, “How can I set you up for success?”, and when colleagues are friends and do sincerely set one another up for success, it generates great synergy, kinship and mindset.

Building friendships in the workplace is both achievable and desirable.

Those in management roles can help by creating opportunities for their staff to mingle outside of strictly office settings.

Establishing a buddy system for newcomers is also a good way to help new additions to the family integrate quickly and seamlessly.

As employees warm up to one another, it creates opportunities for friendships to grow through acts of simple caring and kindness.

In time, the favourable environment translates into better synergy among team members – they also enjoy a greater sense of kinship and adopt a more positive mindset.

In good times, having a friend who shares your joy is a blessing. When the going gets tough, a confidant who can relate to your problems brings great relief. Building friendships at work is a good way to apply this to your professional life.

Can we make employees look forward to work?

The sentiment may seem hopelessly utopian but in reality, such a scenario is perfectly achievable when we have true friends at work.

Dr William Wan
General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement

First published in The Straits Times – March 28, 2013


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