Behavioral Science

11 Incredible Reasons Having Friends At Work Is Important [Infographic]

by . September 26th, 2014

Few people would be surprised when told that friendships – or the lack thereof – can be a significant factor not only for job satisfaction, but for employee turnover, health, and collaboration as well.

And that’s not all. A significant number of workers,  both male and female, report that they would turn down higher compensation if it meant not getting along with coworkers. When was the last time that happened in professional sports?

But we digress. Officevibe created this infographic that gives both employees and business owners plenty of food for thought.

11 Incredible Reasons Why Having Friends At Work Is Important (INFOGRAPHIC)
This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe

What should entrepreneurs and other business owners do?

1.) Encourage a friendly working environment

You don’t have to go full-Google when it comes to employee amenities that encourage employee interaction, and you probably couldn’t afford to either. You can however, create policies – both official and unofficial – that can push employee behavior in a certain direction.

Business owners and managers should actively assess whether or not policies are hurting or encouraging an open, collaborative environment.

2.) Hire for a cultural fit

“Don’t fuck up the culture”! Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has famously repeated time and again the importance of maintaining company cultures that produce positive results.

3.) Discourage high school type cliques

But wait, didn’t we just say to hire for a “cultural fit”? Yes, but there will always be room for improvement in any culture. In cases where talented employees  that positively contribute are unheard because of some internal politics, then there’s no question it will need to be addressed.

4.) Encourage interdepartmental friendships

As a company grows, there is a very real danger that employees will become less familiar with each other. When an enterprise becomes large enough to merit the creation of different departments, there’s a very real chance a lot of them won’t be communicating regularly with each other. This often leads to problems in situations where there are projects that require input from multiple departments.

Business owners and managers more than anyone, have a critical role of bridging employees from different departments in both official and casual settings. Even by just having coffee or lunch with different employees, it’s possible to create bonds that would be the foundation for better communication and successful projects later on.

5.) Take into account generational (and geographical) differences with work attitudes.

Millennial for instance, are far more likely to discuss personal and professional details than previous generations. Only 3% of baby boomers surveyed for instance, would openly discuss salaries, while 67% of millennials would not find it to be that big of a deal. Millennials are also far more likely to contact a superior outside of work on a non-work issue (28%) vs baby boomers (10%).

One will also have to consider other cultural differences. As workforces become increasingly more international and as telecommutes and offshoring a reality for more people all over the world, managers will need to understand potential areas for conflict as well as opportunities for collaboration.

6.) Make an active effort to keep everyone included

Managers and business owners have to show that they care. Period. Even if you do not necessarily want to be a friend to employees outside of work, you must ensure that employees are encouraged to bond  and communicate if you want them to be have any of the benefits outlined in the infographic above.

It’s a tall order. You can’t force people to think in a certain way, or force everyone to be friends with people they don’t want to. But you certainly could set policy or create projects in a way that would encourage it.

7.) Consider letting go of employees who do not fit in

The sad fact is, there will always be people who will never get with the program no matter what you do, who probably won’t ever contribute enough to make it worthwhile.  There will also be cases where you get employees or partners who just poison everything for everyone else. If they stand in the way of a winning culture, consider that you all might be better off if you parted ways. Steve Jobs was well known for firing nearly anyone who he felt didn’t share his vision.

The legalities and ethics of doing this are up to you to explore.


Love this? Hate this? Have any more suggestions for business owners? What do you love about working with (or without) friends? Comment below!


Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.