Is it ever professionally acceptable to mix work and play? According to the Harvard Business Review, the answer is yes, but there are some pros and cons that come with developing friendships with co-workers.
In a recent study, Rutgers University examined multiplex relationships (or friendships that have multiple contexts) among employees at an insurance company. It turns out that having work BFFs “significantly increased employees’ performance, as judged by their supervisor,” Harvard explains.
Researchers discovered that employees were more likely to seek advice from co-workers with whom they felt comfortable outside of the office. And if those friends worked in different departments, people were more likely to receive informal intel that they wouldn’t get otherwise. (The con? This might explain how office gossip is spread through the grapevine.)
Though the findings revealed that having friendships outside of 9-to-5 time were more likely to boost office morale, there were disadvantages when it came to workplace productivity and time management. For instance, impromptu deskside chats or longer breaks were to blame for eating up precious time in the office, making it much more difficult for people to focus on their work.
And although the study found that maintaining relationships with co-workers also came with “a higher rate of emotional exhaustion,” the overall positives of comradeship outweighed the negatives.
Do you agree with the findings? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.