• Keeping Friends

Working friendly, working smart

Published: November 10, 2007 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | Reply Continue Reading

Gallup researcher Tom Rath says that friend-friendly workplaces are more apt to spur energy, creativity, and productivity. In his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without (Gallup Press, 2006), Rath notes that employees who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.

Some observers point to generational differences in attitudes towards workplace friendships. The old school baby-boomer thinking was that friendships and work don’t mix—and might even be downright dangerous. Friendships between supervisors and supervisees were considered even riskier than friendships among colleagues…

“Old assumptions about what employees value in the workplace don’t always apply with Gen Y,” writes Penelope Trunk in the November 9th issue of Time Magazine. “Friendship is such a strong motivator for them that Gen Y workers will choose a job just to be with their friends.” Many companies are acceding to the needs of their employees (and their companies) by making concerted efforts to hire friends and foster friendships among current employees.

Trunk adds that technology and telecommuting have further blurred the boundaries between work and friendship for these 20-something Gen Y-ers; they are very willing to stay in touch with their co-workers by Blackberry all weekend in exchange for more flexibility in their schedules during the work week.

This trend certainly raises the ante on friendships and makes knowing when to hold’em or fold’em all the more vital.

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