Infographic: Why workplace chums are essential

It takes extra effort, but forging relationships can boost your happiness, health, productivity and engagement. Try this advice to create meaningful connections at the office.

If you tend to slink, sneak and skulk around your workplace to avoid colleague interaction, it’s understandable—but it could be harming your career.

CashNetUSA has created an infographic that might make you rethink that staunch commitment to avoiding eye contact and eating lunch alone in your Ford Fiesta.

The piece lists data-backed reasons to prioritize the pursuit of workplace pals, including:

  • Having friends at work can boost job satisfaction by 50%. According to Gallup, “Employees who have a best friend at work are 21% more likely to feel that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.”
  • Workplace relationships can make you more productive. According to the infographic, people with a good friend at the office are “seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.” Researchers at MIT also found that even casual chatting with co-workers can increase productivity.
  • Co-worker connections make you more resilient. It also cites an O.C. Tanner study that found: “Seventy-five percent of employees who have a best friend at work say they feel they’re ‘able to take anything on.’”

If you’re keen on making a friend but not quite sure how to start, the infographic suggests:

  • Break bread, chat about bobsleds, and unite against existential dread. If there’s a lunch group, saddle up and sidle into the foodie fray. Try to create or join a group built on common interests. Surely there are others at work who share your passion for birdwatching, navel fluff collecting or extreme downhill zorbing? Power through the awkwardness, take a chance, and put yourself out there.
  • Follow co-workers on social media. This is a low-key way to break the ice—just don’t come on too strong. You might send the wrong message if you proceed to “like” or retweet your colleague’s last 700 tweets.
  • Help a colleague out. Everyone loves a team player. Volunteering to lend expertise, muscle or creative energy toward a workplace project is an easy way to create meaningful connections.

Making friends at work can be awkward, uncomfortable and downright scary, but it’s worth the effort. Having someone—even just one person—to lean on can make a dreadful job tolerable and a decent job delightful.

Read the rest of the infographic for more tips on developing workplace relationships.

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