Keeping work a friend-free zone

06-07-2007

Keeping work a friend-free zone
The workplace might not be the best place to make friends, according to a new study, suggesting that getting pally at work can be significantly counter-productive.

Researchers in New Zealand have found that having a close friend at work can lead to excessive amounts of socialising, talking and a relaxed working attitude, getting in the way of productivity and concentration.

In addition, workplace friendships can make it difficult for professionalism to co-exist, acting as a barrier to critical feedback, prompting fears over favouritism and raising doubts among other workers over confidentiality.

A key problem identified was that of employees feeling unable to give critical feedback to colleagues with whom they are friends on a social level, causing tension on a professional and personal level.

Rachel Morrison of Auckland University highlighted the problems that can arise as a result of friendships at work, but explained that there are benefits to be had by having a friendly working environment.

"Workplace friendships are like a double-edged sword," she commented according to Stuff.co.nz.

"The benefits of a friendly workplace can be really positive, but organisations should be aware of the potential difficulties."

Related categories: HR / Recruitment.


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