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Cheers to the Peers: The Power of Peer Friendship at Workplace

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By Dr. Saamta Jain

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” – C.S. Lewis

Let us start with a true story: 

When Neeta started working at a new company, she felt like she didn’t have much in common with her colleagues. She struggled to connect with them, as their association with the company was equal to her overall experience, and she often felt left out of social activities and group communication. Some of the team members were also surviving with the “old boy syndrome,” and that left her feeling further out of the box and sometimes even dejected.

 One day, a good colleague of her realized and noticed this, and luckily, he was also not from the oldest generation in the company. They started discussing how he managed to scale himself to the organizational requirements and eventually adjusted to the culture of the organization. This experience helped Neeta connect with all her other colleagues on a personal and professional level, and she felt more engaged and supported at work. She realized that she could capitalize on the knowledge and experience of the existing team and, at the same time, contribute to the organizational vision with her new ideas. They would also discuss their personal lives and career aspirations and anchor themselves all along with the good colleague.

 This story illustrates how people try to find common ground and adjust to like-minded people. In fact, a positive peer relationship can improve productivity, morale, and job satisfaction. By being a good listener and being approachable and supportive of colleagues, we can build strong relationships in the workplace and experience the many benefits of peer friendship.

 When individuals are spending more than 14 of their time awake at work, they need an environment that supports their emotional and psychological well-being. Friends at work may take less time to turn into best friends at work, and they tend to become the lifeline for each other’s productivity and efficiency. Human Resource Departments are not only looping in the wellness experts but also promoting this relationship at the workplace.

 Well-established buddy systems for the new hires also keep the new recruits involved during the induction stage and reduce the time it takes to adjust and accommodate to the culture. When the peer-friendship culture is established, what naturally comes into the company is trust and collaboration. People are more likely to feel engaged, provide a better customer experience, work efficiently, innovate, and be more creative. There are instances recorded that with the peer friendship at the workplace, there is a significant improvement in Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) and volunteerism.

It is also an essential aspect of professional relationships, especially in the workplace. Positive peer relationships can improve productivity, morale, and job satisfaction. We will explore the importance of peer friendship in the workplace and how to cultivate it.

 The Importance of Peer Friendship in the Workplace

 Workplace friendships are essential for several reasons.  Here are some benefits of peer friendship in the workplace:

1.Increased Job Satisfaction: Positive peer relationships can increase job satisfaction. When employees have good relationships with their peers, they are more likely to feel supported, valued, and engaged in their work.

2. Improved Collaboration: Peer friendships can improve collaboration and teamwork. When employees have positive relationships, they are more likely to work together effectively, communicate openly, and achieve common goals. 

3. Enhanced Communication: Communication is crucial in the workplace. Positive peer relationships can improve communication and prevent misunderstandings. When employees have good relationships, they are more likely to listen to each other, share ideas, and provide feedback.

4. Greater Support: Work can be challenging and stressful. Positive peer relationships can provide emotional support, encouragement, and motivation. When employees have good relationships with their peers, they are more likely to feel comfortable seeking help when needed.

How to Cultivate Peer Friendship in the Workplace

Cultivating peer friendships in the workplace requires effort and dedication. Here are some tips on how to build and maintain healthy peer relationships in the workplace: 

1. Be Approachable: Being approachable is essential to building relationships. Make an effort to be friendly, open, and receptive to others.

2. Be a good listener. Listening is an important part of communication. Be attentive and listen to what your peers have to say. Show interest in their ideas and opinions.

3. Find Common Ground: Finding common ground can help build connections. Look for shared interests or hobbies and use them as a starting point for conversation.

4.Show Empathy: Empathy is essential in building relationships. Try to understand your peers’ perspectives and feelings. Be supportive and offer help when needed.

5. Participate in Social Activities: Participating in social activities can help build connections. Attend company events, volunteer opportunities, or team-building exercises.

6. Offer Help: Offering help is an excellent way to build relationships. If you see a colleague struggling, offer to help them out. It can be as simple as offering to grab them a coffee or helping them with a task.

7. Maintain Contact: Maintaining contact is essential in building relationships. Try to keep in touch with your peers regularly. It can be as simple as sending an email or grabbing lunch together.

To conclude, it’s all about the amicable relationships that can promote a collaborative work culture, and their influence on overall efficiency can’t be undermined. Since it can powerfully build a positive culture and healthy relationships with the co-workers, it is advisable to build these positive social interactions, which elevate the KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) of the individuals as well as the cohesive work culture. These workplace peer friendships have to witness the boundaries that need to be established and well maintained.

Author :

Dr. Saamta Jain , CHRO: Jewelex , Mumbai can be reached at samta.jain@jewelexindia.com

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