Insight

How to work with friends without damaging your relationship

By David Lawrence |

Friendships in the workplace can be an incredibly helpful thing that boosts both your day and your career, but they can need careful managing in order not to cause problems for you and your employer.

Manage expectations

If you’re in charge of a team that includes your friend or vice versa, both of you will have to be aware that you can’t be seen to favour each other over anyone else. As the manager, it’s your job to pick the right people for each project, not just the ones you’re friendly with. You also need to listen to everyone in the team equally and to encourage ideas from everyone, not just from those you’re close to. And if you’re the one working for your friend, you’ll have to expect that you won’t always get the plum tasks and your own way.

As long as you’re both aware of those things, it’s entirely possible to have a great friendship that works both in work and away from it.

Pick your moments

Having a good chat can perk up your day no end, especially if things are going horribly wrong and technology isn’t behaving itself. But too much time chatting can at best be a distraction, and at worst, detrimental to your deadlines and to your clients.

Try to save the chatting until breaks and lunchtimes, or outside work, so you know that when you’re working, you’re focusing properly on what you need to do.

Be aware of the management structure

If your company has more of a flat management structure, where the idea is that everyone is able to contribute ideas and talk to anyone, no matter what their position, being friends with a co-worker or two will be easy and natural.

On the other hand, if your management is more strict and traditional, with greater emphasis on the hierarchy, you’ll need to be more aware of how you approach your friends at work, especially if they’re on a different level to you.

Be genuine

Cultivate your friendships at work just as much as you would those outside it, and pay attention to your friends because you genuinely want to spend time with them, not only when you need something from them. Your friendships will last longer and be far deeper if you put in the effort.

Be professional

At the end of the day, you’re at work to work, and while having friends there can boost your morale and give you much better job satisfaction, think about where you are and act appropriately for your environment. You’ll both come across as completely professional and committed to your jobs.

Friendships in the workplace can help your career and encourage co-operation, and there’s no need to be worried about falling out with each other or damaging your friendship just because you work together, as long as you bear in mind that you’ll need to stick to agreed boundaries and be professional during work hours.How to work with friends without damaging your relationship.

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David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.