Tracey Harrington McCoy
July 15, 2014 11:52 am

A couple of my best friends are former and current co-workers. When you’re spending 40+ hours a week with the same group of people, it’s not surprising when some of them become lifelong BFFs. But a new study from LinkedIn reveals that age has a lot to do with how people feel about workplace friendships. The super interesting study reveals that almost 50 percent of the work force believes that coworkers increase workplace happiness—but the ‘friendships’ mean different things to people of different ages.

Specifically, Millennials say that work friendships boost happiness, productivity and motivation. But 45 percent of Baby Boomers, those between the ages 55-65, report that friendships with coworkers have absolutely no effect on their performance at all. (Sadness!) Millennials also reveal that in addition to work friendships making them more productive, it also increases their competitiveness. Get this: 68 percent of Millennials said they would sacrifice a workplace friendship to get a promotion. The same percentage of Baby Boomers couldn’t even imagine it.

The study got me thinking: can working professionals have both? Awesome friendships AND a stellar career?  I think yes. Here are a few pointers to make your office friendships the best they can be.

1. Don’t hesitate to give kudos to your coworkers

Speak up when a coworker has gone above and beyond, particularly if it made you look good. It’s tempting to accept all the praise on a job well done but spreading the wealth shows you’re a true team player. Something your friends AND your boss will like.

2. Do go to social events with coworkers outside of work

This goes against advice handed down from previous generations. ‘Never drink with co-workers’ is something almost every parent tells their graduating college senior. Well, I disagree. Grab a cocktail after work! Meet up for a jog and a mimosa on the weekend!  Spending time together outside the office will only strengthen your connection. I do have one caveat: don’t get drunk with coworkers. (At least not until they’re in bona fide BFF territory.) It never ends well.

3. Don’t chat about your salary

It’s becoming more and more common for coworkers to compare and contrast salaries, but it’s not a smart idea. Someone is always mad or hurt and resentment will most definitely creep into the relationship. This will not only affect work performance, but your friendships too.

4. Do be competitive

Competition at work can be a good thing—particularly among women. It’s not about catfights and winning. It’s about motivating and inspiring each other to be the most successful worker you can be. And when she hits a home run at the office? Be the first to congratulate her.

5. Don’t be exclusive

As you become closer friends with some coworkers, avoid getting too cliquey. You’ll end up creating office jealousy and/or offending others. You don’t have to be BFFs with everyone but you should try and be as inclusive as possible.

6. Do stay in touch even if you leave the company

Just because you don’t share a cubical wall anymore doesn’t mean you can’t still meet up for happy hour. Yes, the job brought you together but it was your connection that made you laugh all day long together.

Image via, gifs via here, here, here

Advertisement