It’s a good feeling, making friends at work. After all, the world of work is changing at an unprecedented rate. I’ve seen it accelerated by the pandemic and the changing of the guard to Gen Z-age employees.
Somewhere along the way many people lost the notion of making friendships at work. They switched to “colleague mode”, keeping virtual calls short and to the point, sending Slack messages when the rest of their teams are offline, and bemoaning in-person get-togethers organized by companies which themselves are struggling to adapt.
The change in how and where people work means that often those we debrief with after a project is completed, or run to for advice on how to deal with a difficult boss, are actually partners, friends or families.
What they lack in context they make up for in sympathy, but are younger workers in particular doing themselves a disservice by not investing in work friendships?
Research Shows The Benefit of Working with Friends
Research from Gallup suggests the answer is yes, and in fact, it is those employers which encourage friendships in the workplace are actually increasing their retention rates by upwards of 22%.
Existing research shows that people with friends in the workplace are happier and less stressed than those who choose to go it alone. That shouldn’t be surprising. It’s good to have friends anywhere, right?
But Gallup’s research goes one further and shows that not only does having a best friend at work can make the day go faster and add an element of fun to your role, but it also positively impacts productivity and can improve your career prospects too.
How to Make Friends at Work
Making friends at work can be a pivotal part of your grad school experience. I’ve learned a few key strategies during my time here that I’d love to share with you. When it comes to building connections with your colleagues, consider the three Cs: Context, Confidence, and Competition. These principles have helped me form lasting friendships and maintain a positive work environment.
Let’s delve into each of them and how they can enhance your experience as a grad student.
Making friends at work can significantly enrich your understanding of the broader company landscape, extending far beyond what you might glean in isolation. While we ideally hope for promotions to be solely merit-based, the reality often involves understanding what matters most to supervisors and comprehending the broader organizational impact.
This insight is instrumental in effectively prioritizing workloads and consistently achieving success.
In the complex and interconnected world of academia, the fastest and most efficient route to gain this vital context, especially when it comes to navigating the intricacies of various departments, is through forming meaningful professional relationships.
Engaging in regular exchanges of information with colleagues opens up a unique avenue to gain a panoramic view of the organization, an insight that is often elusive through solitary efforts.
Think about your experience applying to grad school. It was a pretty involved process, right? And you’ll have shared experiences with others who have gone through the same things.
Through these interactions, you not only obtain valuable knowledge but also forge bonds that can ultimately contribute to a more enjoyable and productive academic journey.
In essence, it’s about fostering a network that not only supports your career development but also deepens your understanding of how your individual efforts fit into the larger academic ecosystem.
Indeed, career advancement frequently hinges on successful initiatives, innovative problem-solving, and the ability to think creatively within budget constraints. Such opportunities are more likely to emerge when you’re comfortable and confident in sharing your ideas.
It’s worth noting that the WildGoose Workplace Friendship Happiness Survey highlights an intriguing trend.
According to their statistics, employees who have cultivated friendships within the organization tend to feel more self-assured when venturing beyond their defined roles and putting forward their suggestions.
This confidence is derived from knowing they have a network of supportive colleagues who stand behind them. In essence, nurturing workplace friendships not only enhances your job satisfaction but also bolsters your professional assertiveness, making you more apt to contribute innovative ideas and seize career-enhancing opportunities.
You used this same type of confidence in writing a grad school resume, right? This is the same thing.
Workplace friendships have a profound impact on professional growth and performance. According to the Gallup survey, individuals who cultivate friendships at work often find themselves motivated to reach their goals more swiftly, partly due to the friendly competition that naturally arises within such relationships.
This healthy rivalry can push you to excel and achieve your targets at an accelerated pace.
And you’ll want some of that healthy competition if you plan to land a top-paying tech job this year.
In a similar vein, the WildGoose data highlights another fascinating dimension of workplace friendships. Their findings indicate that a significant 21% of employees experience heightened creativity when collaborating with friends.
The presence of trusted colleagues who provide honest feedback can spark a desire to elevate one’s performance and innovate in their role.
Moreover, the competitive spirit often extends beyond day-to-day tasks. When a friend within the organization advances to a new role or secures a higher-paying position elsewhere, it tends to ignite a similar aspiration in you.
Witnessing their success not only inspires but also provides a tangible roadmap for your own career progression. The guidance and insights from someone who has recently tread a similar path can be invaluable in navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities that come with career advancement.
So, building and nurturing workplace friendships isn’t just about camaraderie; it’s also a strategic step towards achieving your professional aspirations.
Current Job Opportunities for New Grads
Hoping to make friends at work? You’ll need a job for that. There’s good news here. We can help.
If you’re currently looking for a new role or environment in which you can make friends, The Grad Cafe Job Board is full of opportunities from leading companies. Three current opportunities are highlighted below. Note that these were live at the time we published the article.
Operations Manager, PepsiCo, McKees Rocks
Pepsi Beverages North America is PepsiCo’s beverage manufacturing, sales and distribution operating unit in the United States and Canada and is currently recruiting an Operations Manager who will have responsibility for executing the sales and distribution strategy for the Pittsburgh, PA regional distribution center. The right candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree, with an MBA a plus. Apply now, or find out more details.
Growth Market Account Executive, Paylocity, California
With uniquely designed solutions to help companies engage employees, Paylocity changed how and where work gets done by creating a personalized work environment. It’s recruiting for a Growth Market Account Executive. The role will be responsible for developing prospects through telemarketing, referrals, professional and personal contacts and other sources. The ideal candidate will have two years’ experience in a sales position. Learn more about this job here.
Network Engineer, Vive Financial, Fayetteville
Vive Financial is looking for a Network Engineer to work with the team to solve operational issues, plan network maintenance, expand/build network infrastructure, and respond to network outages. This includes configuring, maintaining, and supporting any current/future configuration standards for all network devices. Candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in technology related field or equivalent professional experience and must be located within 60 miles of Fayetteville. Discover all the requirements now.
Browse The GradCafe Job Board to find your perfect role.