Building relationships at work

Some connections last a life time.

If you’re lucky, at least once in your life you meet someone who you’ll be friends with for life.

I’ve been lucky enough to experience this twice already – not only in my personal life but also in my professional career.

I knew that a few of my closest friends from high school would still be with me nearly ten years on. But it was the friendship I built at work that took me by surprise.

My mantra was very much that the office is a place to work. Keep your head down and don’t get caught up in any personalities.

Since becoming friends with someone that I work closely with, I have completely changed my thinking and now see the importance of building relationships in the work place.

Here’s why-

Firstly, I was lucky enough to become friends with my manager. This friendship is what I believe shaped us into a ‘dream team’ as we built a trusting and honest relationship. It allowed us to be open with each other and gave me the confidence to speak my mind as I knew we were on the same page.

Not only did it make working as a team easier, but creating this friendship also made me look forward to coming into work. I enjoy my job as it is, but knowing I’d be coming in on Monday morning to a catch up on our favourite Netflix show made me enjoy work even more.

Building this close relationship also increased my creativity as there was someone I could bounce ideas off. Brain storming with a colleague was an anxiety filled experience in case I had no ideas or (even worse) my ideas were terrible. Brain storming with a friend elevated the pressure as the bad ideas turned into inside jokes and fits of giggles.

On another note having a friendship in the office is vital when you want to blow off steam. Everybody needs a moan from time to time but doing so in the middle of the office isn’t the right platform to do so. For me, a lunch time trip to Costa and a chat were helpful to calm down, put things into perspective and maintain a professional appearance with other colleagues.

Once my friendship began to blossom, I noticed that I had more confidence to make small talk and joke around with other members of my team. My network was beginning to grow, and my office persona improved as I was seen as more open and approachable.

Building these working relationships benefitted me greatly both professionally and personally. When my ‘work bestie’ decided to move on to another job it was sad to see her go – but I knew things would be okay for two reasons:

  1. She had helped me to build other friendships at work, and I knew I had changed my mindset on the importance of work relationships.
  2. As mentioned previously, some connections last a life time. I have now got a friend for life even if we don’t work together, and Mondays are still reserved for Netflix catch ups – just over WhatsApp rather than in person.

I hope my experience has highlighted why it is important to build relationship at work and how you can benefit from having a friend in the office.

Article by Illesse Uppal, Marketing Adviser, West Midlands Employers

(Find our more about Illesse here)

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