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How to Keep it Professional When Working With Friends

It can be a wonderful thing to work with your friends. Productivity is better, you have people to go to in your work environment if you need work advice or have a problem of any kind. Best of all, working with people you actually enjoy being around usually makes the 40 hour work week go by much faster. I have usually been close to at least one person in the majority of the jobs I have held. However when working with a close friend, it can sometimes be difficult to be at your most professional and the lines can become blurry at times. How do you talk to your work friend about maybe changing some of your behavior? Here are some tips on how to keep it professional when working with friends.

Implement quiet “work” time
It can be easy to slip into comfort with your friends at work and ignore your tasks instead spending the day chatting and laughing. I know from experience. But this is not at all conducive to a working environment. If you find that you really cannot get any work done sharing an office with your friends, try speaking with them about how your work is suffering. Maybe everyone’s work is suffering and they agree that there should be more quiet time to get your tasks done. If this does not work, ask your supervisor if you can be moved elsewhere. It’s not an ideal situation, but it can be a last resort.

Keep work talk during work hours relevant
You know you’re swamped at work. You have a million things that need to get done today but you just saw Linda, the receptionist, doing something she should not have been doing and the only thing you want to do is discuss this with your work friend for hours. For some reason, work environments tend to turn many individuals into gossip inclined high schoolers. I have seen this with many coworkers- young and old. However, there is a time and a place. Ideally, you don’t want to be gossiping about Linda, or anyone for that matter, but if you must at least wait until lunchtime rolls around.

Keep cool, especially in front of higher management
I’m sure this has happened to almost everyone. Your supervisor is giving a PowerPoint presentation and says something that suddenly has you and one of your work friends in what is called “the church giggles”: uncontrollable laughter in an inappropriate setting. You may want to burst out laughing or even talk about it, but keeping it professional, especially in front of your supervisors is pertinent. You never want your work friendships to interfere in your actual work. Remember that you are there to perform your duties at the best of your ability and keeping it professional at all times, especially when working with friends, is important.

IMAGE: Courtesy of WAHM Resource Site

Stephanie Becerra

Stephanie Becerra is a Chicago native. She spent a couple of years working in social services before she realized that her passion was in writing. She is now writing full-time. When she has free time she enjoys reading and also listening to records on her dusty record player.