What’s in a “work friend”?
By Tonia Verni
If you’ve ever used that term, it was probably to clarify who you’d be having lunch with that day or where you heard a funny joke. Either way, you probably used the term quite loosely but, according to Gallup, you should definitely put more thought into it. 
Do you have a best friend at work?
The widely recognized and often-used employee engagement survey developed by Gallup, not only includes this very pertinent question, but places great importance on how employees respond. At first, it may seem like a loaded question; does it really have to be a best friend or is someone I spend my lunch break with enough? And, what if it’s a friend that I also have outside of the office but am just lucky enough to work with as well?
Question structure aside, having a friend at work is actually very good for you – both professionally and personally. Working with your bestie not only motivates you but it keeps you engaged and willing to do more to support your leader and team. You’ll be more likely to take on new and challenging tasks, speak up on important matters and work productively. All of these positive aspects – and more – come from knowing you have the support of a good friend with whom you can share the good and bad of your daily work life.
All of this doesn’t come without the right setting and support. Fostering good relationships and creating team synergy are part of a leader’s responsibility. By creating a culture that encourages participation, open communication and collaboration, leaders will attract the right employees and be able to retain them longer.
On a final note, the Gallup survey results also show that having the opportunity to make and keep friends at work is a large part of the decision-making process for women who are contemplating staying in the workforce vs caring for their kids at home. 
It’s been said that a friend is a nice thing to have but also one of the best things you can be – and now we can also say that it makes you better at your job too.