[Al Asr... A Moment]

Best friends distracting at work, study finds….lol

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 2:02 AM

A study into workplace relationships has found having a close friend at
work can be a major distraction.

Respondents cited excessive chatting, having too much fun and an
inability to separate work from play as contributing to a lack of focus.
Giving critical feedback, wanting to avoid showing favoritism and issues
with confidentiality were among the other difficulties with having a best
friend at work, according to the research.

“When faced with a work-related problem many people will prioritize their
friendship over their responsibilities to their organization, which
businesses may find concerning,” said psychologist and Auckland
University of Technology lecturer, Dr Rachel Morrison.

“Workplace friendships are like a double-edged sword. The benefits of a
friendly workplace can be really positive, but organizations should be
aware of the potential difficulties and how to manage friendships at

According to the study, many people were concerned about going
‘softer’ with their friends and being expected to treat them with special

“People naturally want to make their friends feel special, but this conflicts
with organizational practices or norms that are set up around fairness
and equality. Difficulty in managing these expectations can create
tension in the relationship.”

“Respondents also experienced a great deal of anxiety about speaking
to close friends about substandard work. A basic rule of friendship is
being non-judgmental and accepting your friends’ weaknesses, but
giving critical performance feedback conflicts with this.

<“We also found issues related to confidentiality practices, which could
mean friends have to refrain from sharing information. This can be really
challenging for close friendships that have norms of openness and
disclosure,” Dr Morrison said.

Dr Morrison said organizations should try to provide friendly
environments and encourage workplace friendships, but have policies in
place to manage potential difficulties.

“Organizations need unambiguous and transparent processes and to set
clear guidelines about workplace relationships.”

The research was undertaken online with 230 respondents. Dr Morrison
will present the results at the annual Industrial and Organizational
Psychology (IOP) Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre from
June 28 to July 1.

Dr Morrison’s tips to help manage workplace friends are:
1. Be aware of how organizational friendships can impact on the
2. Be wary of becoming a best friend at work, but recognize that it is
really healthy and important to have good friendships.
3. If you are experiencing problems surrounding favoritism and
confidentiality, be aware of your organization's policies.
4. Be open with your co-workers about what is work-related and what is


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