Why Female Friendships are Important in the Workplace
Friendships usually develop due to close proximity or common interests, so it makes sense that 60 percent of women have a best friend at work. Office friends can provide you with support, advice and a few laughs when the going gets tough. However, if you’re a lady in the workforce there are explicit benefits to befriending another woman in the office.
They Support You
Women are more vulnerable to workplace conflicts than men. When it comes to office tensions, especially if they are related to sexism or sexual harassment, women usually feel more comfortable confiding in another female coworker before heading to HR.
If you’re faced with an issue that is common among women in the workplace, it’s possible that another female coworker has experienced something similar, in which case they can use their experience to provide support and possible solutions to the problem. For instance, if another colleague consistently takes credit for your accomplishments during meetings, the female friend you confided in can stand up for you to make sure you get the credit you deserve.
In the case of more sensitive issues like sexual harassment, having a confidante in times of trauma can decrease the long-term, negative impact of the event. And given that 75 percent of women face retaliation of some sort when they came forward about harassment, having other women to stand with you will help you feel less alone.
They Motivate You
While some insist that people’s personal lives and work lives should be separate, studies show that having friends at work can increase productivity and job satisfaction. 63 percent of women who report having a close friend at work are engaged in their jobs versus 29 percent of women who do not have an office friend. However female office friendships can provide women with more than increased engagement.
Women can offer each other a specific type of support within the workplace, especially in fields where female employees are few and far between. Female friendships in the workplace can form mentorships and provide you with new networking opportunities to boost your career and improve your standing at your current office.
Believe it or not, your best work friend can help you improve your work performance by simply being around! Female representation alone is a motivating factor, so seeing your female work friend excelling on a project, networking like a pro or getting a promotion may be enough to push you to work a little harder day-to-day.
They Make Work Fun
As new generations are added to the workforce, people’s expectations of their employers are beginning to change. Employees are no longer motivated by paychecks. Instead, many are in search of fulfillment, purpose and a good time. Going to work every week to work on the same projects can become monotonous, which is why healthy work friendships are proven to increase overall job satisfaction and performance.
Your work friends can help you reflect on your personal and professional goals, but there are particular benefits to being friends with other women. It is easy for women to connect on a highly personal level and develop closeness due to the way they like to relate. While there are plenty of exceptions, women often discuss feelings while men prefer to talk about specific events. If you can find a woman that you trust and that you have common interests with, you can break up the monotonous workday with lunch breaks, walks and some conversation over coffee. You may find that the even the most menial tasks can be fun as long as you have one of your girl pals around.
Your female friends at work can be a great source of support and fun during the work day, but if you don’t connect with any women in your office there’s no reason to worry! You can always look within your field for a female mentor or professional friend who can provide similar advice and opportunities.