5 practical steps to build a friendly workplace| Rachael Ogunmuyiwa

Having to share the same environment, even with strangers, can lead to friendship. The workplace is not exempted. The happiest of incidents may find two old-time friends working in the same firm and what can they do but to re-ignite the fire. Whether or not you like it, romantic friendships may breed right under your nose. That being the inevitable case, how do you ensure that friendships, in the best and worst sense of the term, does not affect the productivity of your employees?

First, you should understand that forging healthy friendships among your employees would do your business good and vice versa. Thus, it is not a bad thing if well managed. The social atmosphere in your company is not an alien where success is concerned hence, healthy relationships among employees are essential.

Make Rules But Don’t Be Hasty. Rules are good but think of the counter-reactions before you make them. Get to know your employees first before setting friendship rules. Mind you, when you set rules, make sure they acknowledge intra- and interpersonal boundaries.

Be A Friend Yourself. Being the boss doesn’t mean you should be the devil’s advocate with your staff. The workplace should not be a reenactment of Games of Thrones. As much as you can, be friendly and open. From that standpoint, it would be easier to explain to your staff members what you think about workplace friendships and consequently, they will be able to reason along the boundaries you feel should be in place.

Encourage Equal Treatment. Displaying favouritsim is a good way to redesign workplace into a gossip arena. Although without favouritism towards one staff member, it may still not be possible to engage healthy friendship but it is still crucial. As much as you can, be intentional about it. During meetings, listen to everyone and never encourage any action, verbal or non-verbal, that makes anyone feel less valued. Don’t ruin yourself by having a best employee but if you must, know when to draw the line.

Don’t Overwork Them, Give Room For Meet-Up. Never get tire of reminding yourself that your employees are humans who will always be distracted by chats and side gossips during work hours. You don’t have to indulge them but you can meet them at a point – give room for meet-up. You are wondering if they can’t possibly do that during lunch break. Well, they can but that depends on the duration. If it is too short to even allow them eat without hurry, you can extend it by adding a few minutes.

Let Go Of Workaholism. Don’t be like that manager who walks through with an angry uncivility when the staffs are not busy on one file or the other. Being busy can never be a true measure of productivity. Stop looking for avenues to always keep your employees busy. You shouldn’t forget that for every reaction, there would be counter-reaction.

Rules must play at work to ensure that business goals are met. Yet, there is a need to redesign workplace friendships. While trying to be professional, be moderately intentional so that workplace do not become stressful and uneventful.

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