Working with friends, family or your partner is an issue that is obvious in companies and that some even prohibit or at least prefer to avoid. The truth is that something as pleasant as working with someone you trust and with whom you have a good relationship can become one of the most difficult situations to manage at work.
I have worked in various companies, some of which prohibited a relationship between workers, even forming part of the code of conduct. I do not think that prohibition is the best way to deal with this issue and less in companies where the average age is 30 years (or even below), where workers spend an average of 8 to 10 hours a day together (more than with their respective families) and knowing that, according to recent studies, 33% of workers are willing to have an affair with a co-worker including their boss!
We all know that having a good relationship with your co-workers is something that not only makes it more bearable, but is conducive to creativity, evolution, and better productivity. Companies that foster a good relationship and a good work environment are more attractive. But what happens when that professional relationship becomes a personal relationship? Many times workers do not know how to act and that is when problems begin to arise. More than half of these professionals prefer, at first, to hide that relationship and it is easy to understand why. I give you the 5 main reasons:
- It does not make sense that your boss knows before your friends or your family that you have a relationship with someone from the company.
- You don’t know how other coworkers will react to this relationship.
- You’re not always sure a relationship is going to work, so you don’t know if it’s worth the “risk”.
- You don’t know what could happen if/when this relationship ends, because if working with a partner can be complicated, working with an ex-partner doesn’t have to be better.
- There is always the fear of being seen as less professional for having “mixed” professional issues with personal issues.
However, and despite all the disadvantages that seem to exist, a quick survey among the colleagues next to us allows us to understand that we all know someone who, at some point in their professional life, met at least someone who knows that have been in a relationship with a co-worker. And, if we do not know, surely many of us have one or more of our best friends at work with whom we are going to have some beer or go on vacation. Something not too complicated when you enter or grow together in the company.
But, what happens when our boss is our great friend or when people report to us for whom we have a special affection and others do you know? Here we enter another field, where I would like to leave some keys to manage friends since from my experience I have encountered this situation on several occasions and I have even had to fire some friends, situation It is hard but it is part of the job.
The keys to managing friends and partner at work are:
- Be clear that working with people with whom you have a relationship beyond the professional is not easy to manage.
- If it is a relationship that is made public, do not change the habits and behaviors that you have had until then.
- Do not try to defend too much the decisions that involve these people.
- Offer equal treatment to all, both in the good and in the bad.
- It is not necessary not to talk about work at home (it would be unnatural to do so). Of course, know when to speak and set limits.
- Be a professional of integrity and maintain confidentiality: certain relationships can sometimes cause you to know confidential information but one should never benefit from it.
- Never feel inferior if you are “the boss’s partner” because even if someone sees you that way, you are a professional and you are worth what you do.
- Act normally and know how to manage the situation as something normal that exists in several companies.
- Believe in the advantages and benefits of working with people you trust and convey how good that is for the company
- De-dramatize and devalue any unprofessional attitude towards someone who has a personal relationship with someone at work. You are free to interact with whoever you like.
Focusing on the issue of what should and should not talk between a couple about work, it is necessary to understand that in the couple, whether they work together or not, they must talk about work, whether they are professional problems or what happened on a day-to-day basis. All couples do. The important thing here is to understand that when you listen to your partner and then issue an opinion, you should do it as a couple, and never as a co-worker. What is discussed outside of work should never be considered professional conversation, whether with friends, family, or partner. Today, with the schedules and flexible hours that exist, with chats and WhatsApp everything is more difficult to understand, but under normal circumstances, no one would have a professional conversation outside of the work environment and hours.
In my professional life, I had the opportunity to work with great friends, to make great friends at work, to work with family members, and even to work with my wife. Of all the experiences I had, I do not regret any and I am even clear that a large part of my professional success is due to them. That is why I am a great defender of working with people you trust, but you must always understand that, no matter how friends you are and how much you trust them, they are professionals who make their mistakes and that you make them too, so More than once you will be able to disappoint them, and those moments will be very hard and have even more consequences because even though you “fail” a co-worker, they will taste especially bad because they are your friend, family member or partner. Even so, and even though you must be aware of it, the advantages of working with someone “special” for you in the personal field are multiple:
- You can spend more time with these people and, even if it’s at work, it’s always good to know they are there.
- You can give and receive good advice because you know that these people care about you and you care.
- You can bet on people who you know will not want to disappoint you, because the consequences of things going wrong are higher.
- Working in a company where there are friends or partners is something that benefits the work environment because it is a flexible, open, and modern company.
- The existence of situations like these fosters communication, trust, and increases productivity.
The ideal at the company level is that it does not “interfere” in the sentimental issues of its workers. The company cannot make organizational or disciplinary decisions based on the friendship or sentimental relationships that may exist between its workers, even if the company culture does not “approve” these cases or there are unwritten rules on the subject. happiness at work is one of the most valued aspects when choosing a job.