When you think about the time and effort we all spend in our workdays, you realize that we probably spend more time with our co-workers than our spouses, loved ones and friends. It’s how the system is designed and unless we develop the intelligence to design and implement a 3 day workweek with a 5 day pay plan, we will always have a 9-5 work week system to endure. Do the math, and that makes for an 8 hour a day, 40 hours a week that you are working with the people in your office. That is more time than you get with your spouse (unless you work together) your kids, family and friends.
Being somewhat of a workaholic, I have always enjoyed being at the office and for the most part, those that I work with in my department. That is not to say that there is always perfect harmony among the cornucopia of personalities at the office but more often than not, a general enjoyment about being there and performing the tasks at hand. I enjoy what I do and believe that if others have fun at the office, engage in humor and laughter, then their overall attitude about the work is more positive than negative, and thus a higher quality of work is gained over time.
In working in high pressure situations, and working for a common goal, tends to unite individuals into feeling a sense of comradery and a belief in unity. Couple that with commonalities among your colleagues and a variety of shared interest, relationships will develop and strengthen over time. Several of my work colleagues have become some of my closest friends given all the experiences we have shared together and I would like to think it’s due to our commitment to each other as much as it is perseverance in the workplace.
Work relationships that later develop into friendships have several key components to the structure of the relationship. Dependable, honesty, and respect usually serve in the top ranking of shared commonality with colleagues that you are closest to in the office. Followed by dependability, shared values, and open lines of communication are usually next in line as desired traits. Being able to openly and honestly convey your feelings, both positive and negative, to your peers without a sense of being judged or betrayed in sharing are large investments in converting working relationships into friendships.
Going out on a limb here, but I would also say that because of the friendships that I have developed with several of my colleagues, we have both seen an increase in pushing each other in the name of excellence for the various projects or feedback we engage in at the office. Knowing that friend/peer in a more personal manner affords a convenient luxury of expecting more from them as well as being able to be more honest in your thoughts and feedback. In my experience, being able to harness a friendship to benefit a work relationship shows the strength and robustness of the overall relationship and isn’t that what it’s all about- pushing yourself to excellence with people who care about you being the ones on the journey?