Are Workplace Relationships Off Limits?

If you’re a smart, savvy business professional you already know that office romances are a bad idea. The old phrase of “never get your honey where you get your money” is as true today as it’s ever been! Career mentor, Clint Salter shares why it’s never a good idea for workplace relationships.

work-coupleimage via pinterest

But…what about the idea of developing personal friendships in the workplace? I’m sure you’ve wondered on more than one occasion if your friendship with your boss or a subordinate is really the best thing for your career. This is an age old question that deserves some discussion!

10 years ago I started out, like most of us do, at the bottom of the food chain. In time, I worked my way up the ladder to a position where I was managing over 50 people at once. In all that time I’ve held steadfast to my views on workplace friendships and it has served me well. In short…engage with co-workers, show an interest in their life outside of work, but never take things any further.

Of course, over the last year through my company I’ve had the privilege of working with many different organisations with their own unique styles. As such, I’ve been able, with their input, to develop my top 5 reasons why becoming “best buddies” with co-workers (regardless of where they are on the corporate ladder) is NOT a great idea!

1. It gets sticky

To work efficiently and effectively it’s crucial that you can give and receive feedback from your colleagues or boss. Feedback is much harder to receive and give when it’s a conversation between you and your best friend/colleague/boss. We take feedback more personally if we’re on the receiving end and dance around the real issue if we’re the giver. As a result of the trepidation to provide honest, straightforward feedback for fear it will hurt someone’s feelings or affect the “relationship” then inevitable drop in production occurs.

2. Productivity Plummets

What do friends do? Chat, text, or spend the majority of time building/maintaining the friendship connection. In no time you find that the majority of your day is spent not on productive tasks but conversations about personal issues. The work gets pushed aside which means your productivity declines as well as your performance and results. If your job depends on productivity, are you not risking your very livelihood this way?

3. Dummy Spit

With any friendship there are times that you won’t see eye to eye with your buddy. I’m sure we’ve all had a situation where a conversation or an action gets out of hand and someone gets put out. If anyone tells you “what happens outside of work STAYS outside of work” is as naïve as they get! What happens outside of work bleeds right into the working relationship and that is the last thing you want. Avoid the headache!

4. Exposed!

When you invite a colleague into your personal life there is an opportunity for them to uncover information about your past or current situation that you may not want to be exposed in the workplace. Or, just as likely, you create one of these situations WITH that particular co-worker (are there any late Friday nights at the local bar you’d like to forget?). Once they have this information…information you hope stays private…it’s essentially theirs to share with whoever they like. Sometimes, no matter how close the friend, when their livelihood is at stake, this “private” information can become very valuable to someone…so don’t put yourself in that situation!

5. Working 24/7

You may find out that you and your work buddy don’t have as much in common as you thought. Actually,all you really have in common is work. So when you end up hanging out on the weekend the conversation always revolves around work. Now…when exactly do you get the opportunity to turn off that work switch and focus on your personal life?

To sum it all up…solid “working” relationships are important…but make sure you keep them as “working” relationships. If you’re looking for friends and buddies to hang out with and share your personal life, then find them in the “outside” world…not within the walls of your company.

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